It has been a very poignant and thought-provoking weekend. In the morning I took part in the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial. In the afternoon, I spent time walking down Poppy Road, and reading the stories of the men who had left their homes on Station Road to go to war. If they had not returned, there was a black silhouette outside their home and if they had returned, there was a picture of a silhouette in the window with their name. What really impacted on me was that in some families three sons went to war, but not all of them came back. I cannot imagine what the weight of grief must have been, not only in those homes, but on the street. I then went to look at the crosses by the war memorial. There was one 2ft high white cross for every man named on the war memorial. The front of the cross showed their name and dates, and on the back of the cross was a short history.
Visiting Poppy Road and looking at the crosses has made me realise just how important telling the stories of these men is. When we hear the individual stories, it brings what happened to life in a very real way. We become more involved and impacted by what we hear and it makes us want to learn more.
We are entering the season of Advent and turning our eyes towards the coming of Christ at Christmas. That is another story that we should be telling, and we should be telling it in such a way that it brings the story to life and makes people want to engage with the story, understand the story, and want to learn more. For so many people Christmas is about shopping, parties, eating too much & spending too much. We need to ensure that we make people aware of why the story of a baby in a manger, shepherds wisemen and angels is so important. It is a story of hope and survival. It is a story of peace and goodwill. It is the story of family. It is a story of humility. It is a story that was foretold. But above all it is a story of love. It’s a story that needs to be shared and shared and shared.
There were thousands of babies born that day
all helpless, dependent,
needful of love, warmth and sustenance.
Some no doubt did not survive to see another dawn
their tiny light extinguished through lack of appropriate care.
Some would grow up to be kings, queens, leaders of men
others slaves, prostitutes, beggars, murderers and thieves.
Most however would live ordinary lives, among ordinary people
and live and die whilst the world scarce noticed their existence.
But not you
who rose from the ordinary to the extraordinary
from stable to cross
whilst the world tried its best
to ignore you
Have a blessed, joy and peace filled Christmas and enjoy sharing the amazing story of the tiny baby, God incarnate, who came and changed the world.