How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?.....
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death....
But I have trusted in your steadfast love
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
(Church in Wales lectionary, from New Revised Standard version)
There were over 500 at the Carol Service, and I stood by the door to wish everyone a Happy Christmas. A young couple came up, the woman statuesque. She positively beamed as she introduced her husband. "I was the Christmas baby," she said, "22 years ago!"
The church had a tradition of asking a young couple to bring their baby to the service, so that they and their child could stand in for Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. Over the years the babies would come back to say "I was the Christmas baby", and often show me photographs of the day.
This Christmas things are different with many churches closed and services cancelled. But we shouldn't forget that the real Christmas child was Jesus, who came to make a difference to our world. Today we may ask "How long will you forget us, Lord?" But, we need to remember that God works with us, and through us, when we ask His help. We are partners, not puppets.
whose birth as a baby
we celebrate at this time,
teach us to work with You
to make changes to our world;
to listen to You;
and to ask for Your help.
Today is St Stephen's day, when we remember the first martyr of the Christian Church. You might like to look up the following site to find out more about him:
You could also read the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 6 for the story:
and Acts Chapter 7: