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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

31 January 2018: Sylvia Roberts, St Peter's Church, Petersfield

What now?

“And then what happened?”
“The tumult and the shouting dies;
the Captains and the Kings depart.”

These lines by Rudyard Kipling have kept coming back to me this week in the dead end of January. Christmas is well and truly over as are the celebrations of New Year, Epiphany and Burns Night and what are we left with?

Mary and Joseph and that baby may also perhaps have experienced a sense of “now-what?” Bethlehem had been crammed with families for the Roman census, soldiers and officials trying to create some sort of order must indeed have engendered much “tumult and shouting.” Then the “kings” made their amazing and unexpected visit… and now they were all gone but instead of just anti-climax and ennui to deal with, the Holy Family were suddenly faced with rumour, terror and flight and within days became refugees in a strange land where they had never been before. The rumours were that Herod the king had decreed that all baby boys under two years old were to be put to death because he feared that one of them might prove a threat to his power and kingship.

We might be suffering from post-Christmas blues perhaps made a hundred times worse by ‘flu or some other illness but even in our misery we can hardly be unaware that on the borders of Syria and Myanmar, and in many other places, the rumour, terror and flight of the family of Jesus is being experienced again and again by families who share the vulnerability and defencelessness of that family. We may feel we can do little but that is not entirely the case. We can be aware and in our awareness be hugely grateful for our own relative peace and security. We can pray and in our prayers look for daily miracles for those beleaguered people. We can give to a charity we can trust and in our giving we can trust too that our gift can be used for those in need.

The next Men's Breakfast will be next Saturday: 3 February at Hurst Barn - all men are welcome.   Can you help with Holiday Club 2018? See the Holiday Club page

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