My song today is “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year’. This is a popular Christmas song written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle.
‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ is a celebration and description of activities associated with the Christmas season. The song focuses primarily on get-togethers between friends and families. Among the activities included in the song is the telling of ‘scary ghost stories,’ hosting parties, receiving spontaneous visits from friends, universal social gaiety, spending time with loved ones, sledding for children, roasting marshmallows, sharing stories about previous Christmases, and singing Christmas carols in winter weather.
It is a fact, that for most of us, Christmas is ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. What can possibly provide more cheer than to see and hear a crowd of carol singers in the square, and traders selling roasted chestnuts on the Christmas market street nearby? Whom among us can fail to surrender to the innocent charm of a child snuggling up beneath their sheets on a Christmas Eve, half wanting to go to sleep and wake up to presents under the Christmas tree in the morning, and the other half of their curious little mind trying to stay awake and hear Santa and his reindeers arrive? Christmas Eve will witness worshippers at Midnight Mass celebrating the birth of Jesus, revellers at Christmas Eve parties, and exhausted mums and dads having a quiet Christmas drink after getting everything prepared for Christmas morning when the children wake up. All of this is what Christmas is about and much more.
Christmas time is that magical time of the year when hardened hearts are softened, old enmities are often put to one side, and a new-born star beckons hope and the ‘rule of love’ in the New Year sky. It is that time of year that reminds all who inhabit God’s earth that this world turns on an axis of His love. Our Lord God made the heavens and the stars, and then He made the Earth. Then, He made all the land, sea, skies, and underworld and filled it with beasts of the field, creatures of the underworld, birds of the air, and fish in the sea. He filled his world with all manner of plants, seed crops, foliage, flowers, and wildlife. When God had made all these things, He then made his most wondrous thing of all; you!
You are the living embodiment of God’s love on this Earth! You are His most loving and divine creation of all, and it is through the love of each of you, as expressed to one another, that all life is sustained, and hope and happiness promoted. Yes, God made this world and set it spinning on an axis of love, but it is only through the love of mankind for the rest of mankind, that the earth keeps spinning within an orbit of love, a galaxy of charity and grace, and an atmosphere of forbearance and forgiveness. The day that mankind stops loving its neighbour, all hope and happiness will stop, and the earth will rotate no more.
For all of us, this Christmas will be the strangest Christmas that any of us will have ever experienced due to the restrictions and periods of lockdowns we have had to endure in various phases since the Covid-19 Pandemic virus gripped the world in early 2019. Christmas for most will welcome a brief respite from government restrictions on our movement and mingling and meeting with family members for a few days. There will be none of the seasonal festivities engaged in that we have grown accustomed to, and even hugging, embracing, and kissing our most dearest is actively discouraged, and carries a deadly health warning by the government medical officers and scientists.
Finally, we should not allow our absence of thought for others this Christmas to ignore their plight, for to do so is essentially to lose the Christmas message. Please say an extra prayer this year, that the New Year will be better for us all. Do not forget those people of bereaved circumstances this Christmas, especially those who have died with this pernicious virus or because of its impact on the ability of our Health Service to operate normally and treat the mentally ill, and carry out all elective routine medical routines and non-Covid-19 operations on people with life-threatening cancer and other medical conditions. We pray that the hurt and emotional hole in the heart of all bereaved families soothe and heal with the passage of time. Let us not forget all those persons of impoverished circumstances, the homeless, the helpless, and those without hope of a better tomorrow. We pray for those who experience family estrangement and have remained out of contact for so long that they fear reinitiating contact with their family lest they experience further rejection. We ask that people who experience unemployment, loneliness, severe illness, addiction, or mounting debt and depression, get assistance in the early New Year and are not left feeling abandoned. Our thoughts are also with those people who lack hope and harbour feelings of hate, resentment, or helplessness. We hope for peace to break out in places of civil unrest within our world, whether within the knife gangs on our streets, or the death, destruction, and loss of liberty in war-torn countries beyond our national borders. Please spare a thought for all these people this Christmas because these are people for whom this festive season may hold nothing to cheer about as they enter a New Year that promises them nothing better than the past year they have just experienced.
Finally, another marvellous piece of Christmas news on the horizon besides the coming of Christ this Christmas Day is the rollout of a vaccine in the New Year to help combat and control this terrible and destructive virus. Whatever the personal reservations any of you may have about the safety or efficacy of this approved vaccine, let us at least give thanks that it will preserve the lives of many aged and highly vulnerable people, and allow their relatives to visit Care Homes once more to see their loved ones, as well as facilitating a more normal resumption of commerce, employment, and day-to-day social activities in our local communities. Surely, such a reward is to be warmly welcomed, even from among the most sceptical of you? The negative impact that Covid-19 has had on the country’s health, hope, happiness, and fear factors cannot be denied by anyone who has eyes to see and a brain to think! Neither can it be denied that the rollout of the vaccine (in the hope of controlling the spread of this virus) will act as a massive 'reassurance factor' for all those people in the population who take it! Only if taking the vaccine was to prove harmful in the future for significant numbers of vaccinated people, only then could any reasonable argument ‘for not having taken it’ be retrospectively justified.
We wish you seasonal greetings.
Love and peace Bill and Sheila xxx