this very beautiful Christmas icon I found in Stockholm, Sweden. It was painted by a Russian lady. To me it tells of a very intimate, loving relationship.
Since I was appointed hospital chaplain in Nuremberg, Southern Germany, this picture hangs in my office. Next to it another one, showing our new pope, Francis, as he is washing the feet of young prisoners in Rome on Maundy Thursday. This picture again is one of great closeness, of service and ministry.
We as Church need to be able to come close to those who need protection and to those who suffer, like the sick in hospital. Closeness can mean listening and attentive closeness; closeness in emotions and closeness in accompanying one who needs it right now. We who are quite used to draw close to Jesus, for example while sharing communion in Church, need to get used to draw close to the suffering and lonely Christ in our neighbours. This always needs an extra effort and does not come naturally.
Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus had to suffer as poor folks do, as refugees do ...
Every time I hear of refugees from Africa, drowning in the Mediterranian, my heart suffers. Why on earth does that need to happen?
Just now this great man from South Africa, Nelson Mandela, passed away. He was undeterred even by 27 years of detention to believe that all people are brothers and sisters, children of God. What an important lesson his life teaches to so many people!
Wishing you the joy of the Saviour born unto us