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Saturday, 7 January 2017

Miracles and the Christmas story

I was too busy to post this at the time but Jeanette Winterson's Christmas piece for The Guardian, The last Christmas I spent with my mother, is well worth returning to:

'The Christmas story of the Christ Child is complex. Here’s what it tell us about miracles.

Miracles are never convenient (the baby’s going to be born whether or not there’s a hotel room – and there isn’t).

Miracles are not what we expect (an obscure man and woman find themselves parenting the Saviour of the World).

Miracles detonate the existing situation – and the blow-up and the back-blast mean some people get hurt.

What is a miracle? A miracle is an intervention – it breaks through the space-time continuum. A miracle is an intervention that cannot be accounted for purely rationally. Chance and fate are in the mix. A miracle is a benign intervention, yes, but miracles are like the genie in the bottle – let them out and there’s a riot. You’ll get your three wishes, but a whole lot else besides ...

Sometimes the thing we long for, the thing we need, the miracle we want, is right there in front of us, and we can’t see it, or we run the other way; or, saddest of all, we just don’t know what to do with it. Think how many people get the success they want, the partner they want, the money they want, and turn it into dust and ashes – like the fairy gold no one can spend.

So at this time of year I think about the Christmas story, and all the Christmas stories since. As a writer I know that we get along badly without space in our lives for imagination and reflection. Religious festivals were designed to be time outside of time. Time where ordinary time was subject to significant time.'


Jackson Browne & Bruce Cockburn - All I Want For Christmas (Is World Peace).

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