‘Mary, Did You Know?’

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?

This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would calm the storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby
You kiss the face of God
Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know?

Mary, did you know? Did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear
The dead will live again… (Mark Lowry)

‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’.  

‘Mary, did you know?’

The gentle breeze of yesterday soon became the blustery winds of today.  How quickly change can come.  The pandemic of 2020 has hailed the dawn of change knocking on our doors; no one is exempt.  The darkness of the velvet sky almost seemed to stand still this morning as I pondered the life of another day.  Sitting alone with my thoughts at 3am, I prayed for ‘calm’ in the midst of this turbulent journey, a journey of emptiness and pain. Those whose pulse of life is fading, bereaved and broken hearts, blind, disabled, homeless wanderers, hungry children, desolate homes and families, those without clothes, food, shelter, water.  Endless faces filled my thoughts as did their journey of sacrifice and loss where the way forward is a continuous road of darkness.  The words of a Christmas Carol challenge me:

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can give him; give my heart

Give My Heart?’  My heart needs to be an altar burning with the flame of His love.  I must be sensitive to the needs of others, be willing to share in their journey of adversity, not always ‘caught up’ with my own needs but rather to be filled with a consuming passion for the lost.  

Heavy snow and freezing fog will soon cover the hillside of Tinca, the forest of Cighid, the pavements housing the homeless.   Romanian winters can often be minus fifteen and under in the outlying villages, where bare branches of trees glisten with frost joined by a carpet of icy leaves.  The riveting cold caused me to wonder at times if my feet were still part of my body.  Life is hard for the elderly as they break the ice filling a pot of fresh water, as they slowly make their way (without boots) to tend their plot of ground or milk the village cow.   

Christmas is a time for ‘thinking’.  We can become concerned with ‘things’ that really are of no importance.  This morning, I found myself back in Romania last December. Memories of visits causing me deep pain and devastating emotion.  I saw faces of my precious children who will not open a Shoe Box this year. Damian’s Mum, heartbroken, remembering her only son.  Baby Alexandra. Sofia, their pink blankets all neatly folded out of sight, the memory is too painful.   Young Kevin undergoing surgery this week but no daddy to hold his wee hand; David and Diana without mummy, Ella and her brother Aurilian, both very ill.   Gravel roads leading to shabby houses where one enters the world of reality.    ‘THINGS TO DO’ list?  Not on my agenda; rather my list is a ‘HAVE I?’ list.  Have I been a hope to the dying, a friend to the poor, a refuge for the broken-hearted, have they felt loved, valued, accepted?   In my quiet moments of prayer, away for the interruptions and noise of this world, I and I alone can answer.

Seasons of life change; many long for a perfect season.  I think of Monika’s family, their neighbour, a gentleman of sixty-five, diagnosed with leukaemia and suffering from depression owing to the loss of his dear wife to cancer, stood and watched helplessly as his outbuildings burnt to the ground.  Monika’s parents also lost their outbuildings in the fire.  The gentleman has no insurance, also in Romania, the Fire Authority, Police and Ambulance Services all require payment for call out.  The families of the COVID-19 patients who perished in the recent fire within an I.C.U. (North Romania). 

Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?’ (Matt 6: 25,26)

Sister Neli forwarded this message today: 
‘We ask you to send gratitude from our hearts to all those who donate money each month to Tell Romania in order to buy food for the desperately poor families we work with in Casa Grace. They rely on this food which is supported by your monthly donations.   This food is a great blessing and a big support for them’.  

How do I say thanks?  I think of the children of a young couple from one of our Baptist Churches who donated £6.50 from their pocket money to ‘Feed the Hungry’ this Christmas.  This was one of my moments of blessing, tears filled my eyes when I read the email from their Dad.  ‘Thank You’ children.

A blog outlining the conviction of my heart, I must ‘love my neighbour ‘.   I will write early January outlining our projected plans for 2021.  Hamilton and I feel the need and challenges from the three foundations I have the privilege to represent.  Casa Grace, Emanuel Hospice and Iochebed.  This Christmas let us give the best gift we can give, let us tell the story of ‘Jesus, The Light of the World’. Our personal gift from the Lord is a gift worth sharing. The Light of the World can and will overcome all darkness.  Bethlehem can be our own personal journey, our own personal story. Let us tell the story.