Looking back over the last year is quite a staggering experience. Especially when I take a look at at just how much has happened in what seems to be an incredibly short space of time. Regular readers of the Sandbag Times will not need reminding of the busy times and constant moaning by me as I write my editors updates. Surprisingly enough, this year has been one without regrets, well at least nothing to really worry about. Instead it’s been a constant surge of positive emotions, smiles and peace. For this alone, I thank God on a very regular basis. I feel very lucky to have had such a year.
I know that the families of six of our veterans will be enjoying a very, very happy Christmas this year and so they should. I don’t think anything has made me happier than the release of the Chennai Six and I am so delighted that I can now take off all of the support bits out of the magazine for all of the right reasons. Yes, they have a long road ahead but their road now lies at home, with those they love. This truly has been a most wonderful time.
However, this has been the first such year for a very long time. I have taken many knocks, I have had my struggles and made many mistakes and had days where I didn’t want to go on anymore. So I think for this reflection I would like to give you all an early Christmas present, the gift of hope.
It is so easy to look at things when you feel down and think to yourself “What’s the point”. It is very easy to focus on the bad that’s pulling you further down the hole and think, “This is how my life is, I just have to get on with it”. Well, wrong and wrong! I have to say with great joy that no matter how bad you may feel your life is, it can and will get better. The season we are entering is the ultimate message of hope. We all know the story of what happened 2,017 years ago. We know Jesus was born in miraculous circumstances and, although the actual date may be in question, the fact remains that Jesus was born. What an amazing day that was, The birth of Christ represented the birth of the Hope of Mankind. In 30 odd short years he was to save mankind from themselves and give us an everlasting gift of hope. The message that no matter how bad things would get, we always had love and hope for better things to come.
Times have changed so much since then, civilisation is a huge far cry from the times of Jesus but amazingly, despite all of the wars that have been fought, regardless of how technology has taken over the planet, despite everything, the message given to us over two thousand years ago is still being celebrated. How fantastic is that! There has never been a better gift, there has never been anyone who has given as much, so this Christmas try to remember the reason why we have this wonderful time.
Being brought up in a strict religious household, I was taught that Christmas was all about the birth of Jesus. I believed it, I went to church and did the church thing but I never really got it. I never really cottoned on to why it was so important to celebrate.
Now eons later, I get it. Not through going to church, through school or being religious but just by being me and learning from life, real life. This is why my faith is so important to me. Because of how I have learned. That is the gift I have been given.
I know not everybody will believe this or agree with me but I promise you, it is possible and I pray with all of my heart that it happens this Christmas to all of you. Regardless of what has gone on in your life, regardless of who you are, where you are or where you want to be in life, regardless of the good you do or the bad you have done, it doesn’t matter. You are all entitled to this gift.
For my bible reading for Christmas, simply pick the beginning of any of the four gospels in the New Testament and remind yourself of this brilliant time. Merry Christmas all!