Christmas Day 2019

Our Lady of Consolation
Our Lady of Consolation, icon since c. 1450 at Cambrai, Flanders

This icon of Our Lady of Consolation reminds us that Christmas is never without its sorrows. The tear on Mary’s cheek recalls that poignant medieval lyric in which Christ’s death is lamented in deeply personal terms. Our salvation did not come cheap:

Lovely ter of lovely eye,
Why dost thou me so wo?
Sorful ter of sorful eye,
Thou brekst myn herte a-two.

We rejoice in the most perfect of all gifts, the gift of our Saviour Jesus Christ, but we also acknowledge the grief and sadness of the world in which we live. We may be mourning the loss of someone we love or grieving the violence that has killed so many in Burkina Faso and Syria, or there may be some more private sorrow that weighs us down. But still we rejoice. The bitter irony of the birth of the Prince of Peace coinciding with a fresh outbreak of war is not lost on us, nor is the seeming inability of our leaders to work together to end poverty and homelessness and all the evils we regard as insupportable. But still we rejoice. We rejoice because we must. Destruction, negativity, hopelessness is not the whole story and never can be. With the coming of Christ into the world, God has bound himself to us in a way that can never be broken. He has become what we are — for ever and ever. If we let that truth sink in, we can indeed find cause for joy.

On behalf of the community, may I wish you all the blessings of Christmas and the assurance of our prayers. Thank you for your engagement and support during the past year.

If you are struggling with serious illness, you may find something useful in this earlier post about celebrating Christmas with cancer: There are also several posts about the Nativity which can be found using the search box in the right-hand sidebar.


22 thoughts on “Christmas Day 2019”

  1. When you have so much else to do and it would be so easy to upload a link to a previous blog, thank you for taking the time to write a new one. Wishing you a peaceful Christmas -painfree and photographer-free!
    Thank you for your many wise words throughout the year.

    • Thank you, and may God bless you, too. If I recycle a blog post it is either (a) because I don’t think I have anything more to say on a particular subject/can’t find a better way of expressing it or (b) because I’m not very well but the community still wishes to mark a feast/event in some way on the blog.

  2. Thanks to you and the community; I have loved reading your posts this year, and look forward to more of them in the new year. God bless you all now and always.

  3. Thank you for your blog, especially today. Am reading it late in the evening after the tired out young parents of our three month old grandchild have retired for the night and stillness descends on the house. God bless you always. And Happy Christmas!

  4. I marvel at your dedication, patience and devotion in the face of both personal and community challenges. You have inspired us your followers with your love and wisdom throughout another year and we thank you for all that you do.
    Although Christmas Day is nearly over, this season of joy of our dear Saviour’s birth lasts until Candlemas and l hope that you will be immersed with its wondrous love. May the Lord bless, heal and care for you. Peace and love be with you xx.

  5. I have only recently come across your blogs and quite by accident. Although I am a non-conformist, I find your words full of insight, meaning and very inspiring. The words for those living with cancer at Christmas are particularly inspirational. Thank you for your words of comfort and encouragement. I hope to be able to continue to follow your wisdom throughout 2020.
    Peace be with you.

    • Thank you, and may God bless you! (Until the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829), Catholics in this country were regarded as non-conformists and continued to suffer similar disabilities as members of the Free Churches for some time to come — part of our shared history.)

  6. Dear Sister,

    Thank you so much for your meditation on Christmas Day and the picture of the Virgin’s tears. Today we had in church the reading about Simeon and his comment to Mary – “A sword will pierce your heart”. A very poignant moment for me as I mourn my
    daughter who died this year.
    I appreciate very much your comments each week, they are so insightful and blessed by God. Thank you.

    • I am very sorry that you are grieving at this time. I don’t think there can be a greater pain than to have one’s child die before oneself — my grandmother found the loss of her younger son very hard to bear. We’ll keep you in our prayers, and thank you for your encouraging comment about the blog.

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