The miracle of the post-its and the tinsel
Luke 1: 46-55 (NIVUK)
46 And Mary said:
‘My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me –
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants for ever,
just as he promised our ancestors.’
I was just thinking that there’s a wonderful thing that happens in my practice at Christmas time and it’s replicated in hospitals, nursing homes and doctors’ surgeries all across the UK.
These places are generally all business: health education posters, rules and regulations — every surface you see is festooned with official looking bits of paper and the computer monitors are fringed with yellow and blue post-it notes. You can always tell the secretaries’ screens which grow little paper beards at the bottom. Everyone looks rushed, everything teeters on the brink of chaos and you can almost see our NHS strain at the seams — and that’s on a quiet day. At the beginning of December little by little wee pieces of tinsel start to arrive. First on the doors to the waiting room, next on the front desk until, in an explosion of colour and light, the Christmas tree is up and every available surface, waiting room and office begin to look like the front window in a John Lewis store.
You would hardly believe it.
Every desk was full, every surface leafletted, not an inch to spare and yet at Christmas we found room.
I think it’s kind of like that in our hearts and minds. No room, bursting at the seams, crumbling under pressure and yet.
This is a wee miracle of Christmas.
I like to leave last some nights, when all the patients and staff have gone home and to reflect in the quiet and look at the winking lights of our Christmas tree. I just look at all the love and hope we’ve left behind ready to be switched on again another day.
Lord I’m bursting and bulging and about to explode
I don't have room for anything more
I can't get a breath for holding it in
I can’t say prayer for keeping my mouth shut
I can’t get a thought in edgeways, my head’s going to pop
Enough is enough
Puncture this balloon of a year
Pierce its skin and set me free
Let me be emptied and still
No more strain
Then fill me up with grace and love until I’m lighter than air