At the writing of this reflection we have 35 days to Christmas. During that time, we shall be faced with some unpredictable situations, together with the predictable. The predictables are shortened days with longer, darker nights. There’s all the Christmas pressure, such as shopping to please everyone, accommodating family expectations and preparations for the festivities. We are all too well aware of the unpredictables – Brexit, the horrific fires in California and so much more.
Some of what we experience in life, on a personal level as well as within society, may have an alternative for us to consider. Sadly, it may seem that human nature is such that war, no matter how much energy is used in negotiation, is inevitable. However, should we give up on negotiation? We all know that pressure is part of life but an alternative to succumbing to it is to find a way through which will minimise the stress that pressure causes.
When things get out of hand, such as the fires in North America, we are horrified to see the damage caused. Someone will have to sit down when the fires are all out and ask what alternative thinking and action needs to take place to minimise these kinds of situations. It takes a brave person to stand up and question a different approach to many things in life. We have to be very still to find alternatives and sift through an aftermath to prevent something happening again. It will also take courage to clear up the mess and endeavour to build again. This November, individuals and groups have donated millions to Children in Need. Those who gave did so in order to provide an alternative for those less fortunate than themselves. We can think of alternatives for others as well as for ourselves. Where would we be if there was no hope, no alternative to giving up when life throws its worst at us to derail us? This November, I have been challenged to accept a different way of looking at things. We might not be looking forward to Christmas this year. Instead of the pressure or sadness, let’s look through all that to what is at the heart of Christmas. Wouldn’t it be tragic not to look forward to Christmas with its message of hope and peace which can give us a joy that is indescribable? God’s alternative can become our inspiration for another year - whatever life may have in store for us.