A five-year-old little boy was heard asking one Sunday in church as the people received Communion, “What are they doing, Daddy?” At one level the answer is simple and straight-forward – receiving Communion. At a deeper level the answer would vary from person to person.
As a child, I saw my grandmother take black tea and bread during Lent. She was a severe observer! The elders of the family said Lent was a time to give up comfort food. And so I remember going off things like chocolate, offering up my sweet tooth’s burning desire as a sacrifice to God.
Over the weekend I revisited Viktor Frankl’s little classic, “Man’s Search for Meaning”. Brian Keenan, who spent nearly five years as a hostage to terrorism in Beirut, called it ‘a hymn to the phoenix rising in each of us who choose life before flight.’ It’s Frankl’s formula for survival drawn from his horrific experiences in the Auschwitz death camp during WW2
This time of year, between Christmas and Lent, the gospels show us Jesus ‘going public’. There’s excitement in the air. He has good news: cripples are healed, the blind see, the sick and the great unwashed are given new hope and something better to live for.
The winter solstice has come and gone. Soon the days will lengthen. The long grass will grow again and birds will start to sing once more…. Once upon a time the true light came to our darkened world. It promised never to fade, dim or disappear. The shepherds, the Magi, even old Simeon and Anna in the temple recognised the light of the world.
The time before Christmas usually found me wrestling in my mind. Year after year I decided that commercial Christmas would take second place. When the time came, I could not be sure which Christmas would win my time and attention most – religious or social.