At the last report, six people have died and ten been injured in a shocking accident involving a bin lorry in Glasgow.  A woman was drowned in the river Nith near our home, and a young man has still not been found after entering the same river.


A very happy Christmas?  For some families, the ones mentioned above and others connected with incidents and accidents that don’t make the news, it won’t be happy.


It is a time of year characterised by unpredictable weather, flooding, permanent twilight-like light levels due to constant grey cloud cover, a huge rise in financial problems as people try and spend beyond their means, and an increase in break-ins as people are tempted to steal gifts from under other people’s trees.  And also seemingly unexplainable tragedies such as the ones mentioned above.


A very happy Christmas?  December can be a bleak month for many for all sorts of reasons.  A ‘depression awareness week’ notice has been circulated on my facebook feed the last couple of days.  For obvious reasons it can be a very low, black time of the year.


And yet….. the winter solstice fell on Sunday just gone.  The days will now get longer and lighter, all the way up to spring.  The grey wet bleakness of autumn is now replaced some days by clear, frosty sun-lit winter mornings.  And just as there are deaths there are always births – every local paper in the country will no doubt report on the first Christmas baby, or first New Year baby.


A very happy Christmas?  Perhaps not so much happy as thankful.  Thankful that we do have rescuers, we do have medical staff, we do have hospitals, we do have helicopter pilots who will search swollen, flooded rivers.   Thankful that we are reminded by the birth of Christ that God has lived an ordinary, human life and has witnessed His own tragedies and will now walk alongside us in our angst and anger.  Thankful that even on the blackest days there is still hope.