Three Thoughts For Christmas & The New Year

Posted at 18:26pm on 19th December 2011

Have you ever found that sometimes, various, seemingly disparate, things have come together and you've heard a still small voice?  Some truth about life that's been revealed to you?  Something that's previously eluded you, but has now come into sharp focus?

It can happen, as I discovered, even in the busyness of the lead-up to Christmas.  And it can happen in different ways.  For me, it was a snatched online conversation; a Google search; and a TV programme, ninety-nine percent of which was over my head.


A Facebook entry began the conversation in my head.  "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace - Jimi Hendrix," wrote one of my online friends.  I thought about that long and hard, aware that an accurate interpretation of Love was required to confirm the truth of the statement.

A day or so later, members of my Writers' Circle were asked to bring something to read at our meeting, on the subject of angels.  With little time to write anything, I made a hurried online search, and came up with the following piece: part of a poem titled Abou Ben Adhem, which moved me to tears.

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:-
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
"What writest thou?"-The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheery still, and said "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
James Henry Leigh Hunt 1834  


A note beneath the poem pointed out that in Hindi the word Ben means sister, and Adam, of course, is all men.  This piece of writing, I thought, seemed to affirm the thoughts of singer song-writer, Jimi Hendrix.  Yet still the ambivalence about the definition of Love persisted in my mind.

And then I saw on BBC2, last night, Professor Brian Cox attempting to explain to a "celebrity" audience, the Theory of Quantum Physics, and the God-particle.  As I've already said, most of it was quite beyond me.  But two truths stood out: one that everything - absolutely everything that has ever existed or will ever exist - is connected to everything else; and two that when an atom lacks one of a pair of electrons, it links with another so that they may share.


And that, my friends, is the message of Christmas that I want to carry forward into 2012, and the one that I wish for you.  For it appears that our connectedness and the need to share are built into the very fibre of Creation.  This means that we are linked, irrevocably, with each other - and with the Creator God who put aside his deity and, humbling himself, became a helpless baby in a manger.  He did so in order that we might share in his Love.  The Love that Jimi Hendrix identified as the power to "overcome the love of power".  The Love that Ben Adhem spoke of, that "loves his fellow men".  The Love that ushers Peace into a waiting world: "the peace that passes understanding".

May you know that Love, that Peace in 2012.

Happy Christmas.  And A Happy New Year.

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