Daily Worship

Clutching at straws

James Cathcart December 03, 2023 4 3
Image credit: Unsplash
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Psalm 80: 14-19 (NRSVA)


Turn again, O God of hosts;
    look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,


    the stock that your right hand planted.


They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down;
    may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance.


But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
    the one whom you made strong for yourself.


Then we will never turn back from you;
    give us life, and we will call on your name.


Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Sometimes Christmas can be a lot can’t it?
A bit much.
A bit much with tinsel on top.
It can feel like the last straw, like can we not just skip to January?


Yes sometimes we’re just clutching at straws.
Looking for a handhold.
But here’s the thing with Jesus.
With Jesus the last straw isn’t the end of something,
It’s a beginning.
Because the last straw
the very last straw
is love.

It’s always love.

So when we’re at wit’s end,
scunnered, fed up, done in, past it, clapped out, jiggered, bamboozled, gubbed, floored, disappointed, let down,
Jesus is there saying:
‘I ken.’
Because Jesus kens.
Jesus kens what it means to be clutching at straws. To have the odds against him, facing rejection. To be a no-hoper. To be let down. To be deserted.

At Advent, at this time of year, it can all get overwhelming, the serenity and quiet of a sleeping baby in a manger can feel a long way away. We can feel totally at odds with peace, love, and understanding. Our cry of longing can be the cry of the Psalmist in today’s reading.

But into our longing, our hurt, our tiredness this story comes around again, these songs creep back into our hearts, ancient words remind us that Jesus kens — Jesus kens! This Christmas we are not abandoned, or alone. Because tinsel or no tinsel, Jesus kens and Jesus cares.




Father God

We love you

Thank you for loving us.

When it comes down to it

at the last straw

you gave us Jesus

the last straw for humanity

which wasn’t the end,

but in fact the start

of something new.