Two men emerge from a delivery van parked at the bottom of an apartment block.
They start to unload parcels in all shapes and sizes, placing them in an orderly fashion on the pavement. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason where each parcel is placed; only that they are positioned in neat rows and columns. Presumably to be distributed to all the apartments as soon as possible.
Barely a stone’s throw away is a huge recycling bin. It’s overflowing with empty cartons and boxes, also in all shapes and sizes. Clearly they once contained treasures galore. You can make out that some had held computer monitors, others toys and still others all manner of home appliances.
Yep, it’s another holiday season of gifts, givings and gift-wraps!
“So this is Christmas…”
That was the scene greeting me earlier this week as I made my way home.
Seeing those discarded empty boxes within ten seconds of witnessing two delivery men hard at work carrying filled ones, I couldn’t help but hear two songs in my head.
The first was Julie Andrews’ “My Favourite Things” as I walked past the first scene, looking with longing and wishing one of those ‘brown (or white or black) paper packages’ was mine!
The other tune in my head as I walked past the second scene, was John Lennon’s classic “So This Is Christmas”. Which of course made me ask myself that pointed question Lennon posed in the song…
“…and what have you done?”
To which my sheepish response would have to be: Nothing much.
In my first Christmas post last week, I talked about my conflicted feelings in recent years with this festive season. There, I mused over my dilemma with much remorse and little by way of an answer.
What I witnessed this week though, gave me a clue to my conflicted self.
I realise that it’s a conflict that’s actually been built into the very fabric of our universe since the dawn of time, affecting every single one of us on this planet (yes even you, so don’t look away!).
It’s a constant tension. Like a tug-of-war, where every other moment the other side’s putting the brakes on you, just when you thought you have the upper hand.
It’s that place between having and lacking; pushing and pulling; giving and taking; consuming and discarding; being and becoming.
We live in just such a world – always at odds.
Always unclear. Uncertain. Unsure.
In short, conflict.
Leading me to believe I’m in good company.
Leaving me with but one conclusion.
The one thing Christmas offers better than any other season.
Christmas: the audacity of hope
As I write this, vaccines are being shipped to as many places as possible to as many people as possible. But it’s not without problems that are multi-faceted – medical, social, economic and, as always, political.
Given the Covid vaccines’ global impact, that should come as no surprise.
So while these vaccines represent hope for many, they are not full-proof. Their promise of protection is still potentially perilous, keeping our desperate world on tenterhooks as we watch with bated breath to see if we truly can regain our freedom once more.
Because we all need hope, even if that hope isn’t 100% assured.
Because we all need hope that the misery of 2020, can be a distant memory by 2021.
Because deep down, we all know that only the “audacity” we call hope has the power to pull us out of the miry clay that is today, and propel us into a bright and promising future that is tomorrow.
So even as I witnessed that day the seeming-futility of new parcels delivered one minute only to be discarded the next, I realise that my conflicted Christmas conundrum can only be corrected when I look to the one hope only Christmas can provide.
For this conflicted Covid Christmas, I wish for myself (and you too) the greatest hope of all. The only One who can bring true, lasting hope for a world in endless conflict.
The one true Message of Hope Christmas offers every year.