Yesterday DH and I went shopping, a not unusual activity at this time of year, but a task usually avoided by us both like the plague, except for necessities. It was cheering to see the shops and streets decorated for the festivities, though a little worrying to see how relatively quiet they were so close to Christmas. I think many shoppers are pulling their horns in this year and the shops must be feeling the pinch.
On our return I settled down with a nice pot of tea to look though that day’s posts in Google Reader and thoroughly enjoyed the glimpse of a traditional German Christmas market, as given by Friko on Friko's World, just as I recently appreciated the tempting images of aspects of Christmas Spanish-style, as supplied by Annie on Moving On.
I think this juxtaposition may be why today’s shocking attack at the Christmas market in Liege in Belgium has hit me with particular force and left me feeling very unChristmassy indeed. Seeing ordinary lives torn apart by violence in the middle of the very activity DH and I had been doing yesterday brings home yet again the horror of man's inhumanity to man. It sometimes seems that our world is moving ever further from the angels’ message of “Peace on Earth and goodwill towards men”, a sad thought to ponder only 12 days before Christmas.
To comfort myself and remind myself that Advent is all about hopeful expectation, even in the midst of sadness and suffering, I have just listened again to the exquisite Advent Song, written by Christine McIntosh and set to music by her husband John, and posted very recently on her blog blethers. The words are here, and the music, sung by their church choir, is below. I hope it may speak to you as it has to me.
Image: Paul Brentnall / FreeDigitalPhotos.net