Well, The Queen does one and the other day I noticed David Cameron did one, pretentious, surely not. So why not me?
Whilst having a cup of tea this morning and listening to some Christmas music one of which was “Unto us a child is born” from George Frederick Handel’s Messiah I was reminded of a trip to London in the autumn.
The trip was to The Foundling Museum in London’s Brunswick Square. The Museum is a tribute to the work of many since the early 1700′s in saving unwanted children from death and destruction on the streets of our capital city. The link to Handel was that, along with William Hogarth, he was a benefactor giving several performances of Messiah for the benefit of the hospital.
On entering the museum the first thing one encounters is a row of coat pegs. Some have white children’s shirts on them, some are empty. I don’t think I have ever seen a more poignant sight.
What struck me was although “Unto us a child is born” is a rejoicing in the birth of Jesus Christ it could also be a rejoicing in the birth of any child, especially ones own children and the children of those close. And those who don’t have children might like to remember that you were a child and that child is still inside. So perhaps this is a good time to think about that.
I’ll close with the words of Kahlil Gibran, who I’m sure won’t mind a little plagiarism.
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.” And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
That last line always gets me.