As I sit here in my study looking out at a snow covered view, I concede that I am perhaps about to have my first (to the best of my knowledge) white Christmas. It has been a tough week for many of us in Britain, for reasons of cancelled holidays, late or cancelled deliveries of gifts, cancelled services in some of our churches, general inconvenience, families unable to reunite for the Big Day, those who are at home alone more isolated than before - and a whole array of other things.
"I'm Dreaming of A White Christmas" - that rather beautiful song seems to sum up and typify our hopes and dreams, our wishes, for Christmas. That wish has now come true, though perhaps not with the end result that had been intended.
This realised Christmas wish caps off an interesting year. In Britain we have a new coalition government that shows signs of stress at the joints as I write. For many, that form of our government is another wish come true. The Church of England continues to spat over incidentals and over significant matters like the realisation of calling and ministry. People have wished for their place on our governing body and those dreams have come true. In so many countries, we have wished an end to the financial melt-down that has afflicted us all, and our wish came true with the measures introduced in October by the Coalition - perhaps not what many of us expected.
So many wishes - so many coming true in ways hitherto unexpected. All reasonable, none wrong - but a lesson perhaps about being careful what we wish for.
As we focus on the empty manger in expectation of the coming of the Baby, let us hold on to the most important wish tightly, the wish that comes true for us every Christmas, that we start another year with hope, something about which to be joyful. Life sometimes seems to be a catalogue of the 'nearly', the 'almost', and the 'if only' - except the Incarnation. From that moment alone, all that is good spings forth. From this wish-come-true can we dare to make renewed wishes for 2011, for ourselves and our loved ones.
May I wish every one of you who reads this, a wonderful, peaceful and blessed Christmas. If you read this without the faith that I hold, may you too be granted a wonderful Winter Festival. May this time be for us all one of hope and joy and a gateway to a new year of opportunity.