A Bleak Midwinter...

In the bleak mid-winter, frosty wind made moan…
That’s the first line of one of the most loved (indeed it managed to make it TWICE into the list of the nation's top five favourite carols this week), yet probably most inaccurate Christmas carols in the English language… Snow probably did not fall, snow on snow, snow on snow on snow on the first Christmas in Bethlehem… But it has certainly fallen in England and western Europe over the past few days, messing up people’s travel plans… particularly those who had booked to travel on Eurostar… Including some who had transferred to train from British Airways flights because of a threatened strike, which was subsequently ruled illegal. Others have been stranded abroad or had their Christmas holidays cancelled because of budget airline Globespan being put into administration and the Allbury Travel Group going under… Indeed it is almost as if Christmas itself has been cancelled for Globespan employees, some of whom not only don’t know how they are going to get home, but also whether they can actually afford Christmas without a working wage if and when they do. And Globespan isn’t the only big name to hit the skids this week with the announcement that Borders Bookshops, Saab Cars and Wesley Owen Books are soon to disappear. And then yesterday morning one paper's headline referred to people's fury at having digital TV transmissions messed up by the weather.
Yet all of those tidings of comfort and joy pale into insignificance beside the fact that the Copenhagen summit ended with no binding agreement to deal with climate change… Yes it may seem ironic to be discussing rising temperatures when western Europe seems to have ground to a halt because of the snow, but whilst snowy days are rare and temporary, the effects of long term climate change will be devastating for the earth, and particularly for the poorest people on this earth… not those wanting to jet off for some winter sun or some ski-ing in the alps, or the high and mighty debating things in Copenhagen, but those being born now in the back streets and shanty towns of the developing world.
Two thousand years ago another child was born in inauspicious surroundings: yet the angels proclaimed at the time of his birth that it represented "Good news of great joy for all people…" When that child grew up he claimed that he had been appointed and anointed to bring "Good news to the poor…"
In a world of bad news, we, who claim to follow that child are called on to share and to be that good news… especially for the poorest in this world…
What shall we give them, poor as they are?
A messed up world to live in... while we worry about whether the weather will mess up our Christmas viewing?

This is an adaptation of the weekly news review I did for Downtown Radio yesterday morning.



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