Photo was taken yesterday morning at Altamount, Millstreet, Co.Cork (Irl)

A heavy hail shower transformed the landscape, highlighting the lovely circles through the lawn

Thought on Sunday – December – 05/12/2021

‘By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The skies seem to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.’ ~Thomas Merton

Advent has been described as a spiritual treasure. This treasure is not hidden or meant only for a select few. It is ours to explore and to know that there is a beautiful message waiting to be discovered. At the heart of this message is that we are loved, unique, precious and special. The God of Christmas is a God of love. In a world where darkness and negativity seem to have lots of momentum, Christmas reminds us that this momentum can be slowed down. On Christmas Eve and Christmas day it comes to a grinding halt.

The scripture readings that have been selected during Advent and Christmas are full of meaning and symbolism. While they were written many years ago they still bring with them a meaning and relevance to the complex world we live in. One of the lines from St Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which is one of the readings for the second Sunday of Advent this weekend is as follows: “My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deeping your sense of God within you.”

The writer doesn’t have all the answers but is at least certain that God is love and making a real and lasting difference. Other scripture readings talk about darkness, turmoil, confusion, despair, fear, depression, loneliness, pain, abandonment and uncertainty. But from all of this emerges light, hope, peace, certainty, healing, comfort, energy, new beginnings, relevance and meaning. These scripture readings are not fairytales or make believe stories. They are real and relevant and even more so during these Covid times. They also remind us just how important Christmas is on our own spiritual journey.