Waking up to Christmas by radio 5’s Liz Bonnan and a podcast that has been searing my soul, I realised two things had changed.
Firstly, my world – I was listening from London not my mother’s house – where I had intended to be, today I would not be drinking and getting fat – today I would be spending with my partner at Church, in exercise and in gratitude that I am emerging from 2020, more at peace with myself than at any time.
Secondly- our world – I was listening to a podcast about what had changed in 2020. During the year much has changed. How we go about maintaining our planet in a decent state to live in is now at the front of our minds.
My point is that for me – in 2020 – I and the world I lived in – moved on.
What planet are we on?
Although I am a Christian, I do not believe in an interventionist God, in the words of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh
Most people think
Great god will come from the skies
Take away everything
And make everybody feel high
But if you know what life is worth
You will look for yours on earth
And now you see the light
You stand up for your rights jah
Stewardship of our planet is down to us and not some other body. Similarly, it is in the power of people to accept , reject and even create change. In the past three months the Western world has swung back from two extremes, both of which had had the power to have done lasting damage to our world
We kicked out Trump
I say “we” because I don’t think Trump could have lost his re-election had it not been for the rejection of what he did and what he stood for by people around the world. Trump still holds large amounts of America’s population in the palm of his hand – other Dictator’s have done the same – and have prospered, Trump didn’t.
We stepped back from the edge on Brexit
Thank goodness we did, and this is down to some very sensible behavior on both sides, but the intractable problems that stood in the way of Britain leaving the EU have been addressed and (let’s hope) solutions have been found. The damage that “no deal” could have done could have dwarfed the negative impact of a soft Brexit and the positives of Brexit could have been so outweighed by no-deal , that all but the hardest-liners , would have had to see Brexit as a false step.
Thank goodness that the first day I can write these words of comfort – is Christmas Day!
The chance to change
Listening to David Attenborough at the age of 94, campaigning to change the planet woke me up this morning and realise that on this Christmas day, when we remember the birth of a man that changed the world, that we do have it in our power, not just to change ourselves, but to change the planet we live on. The question “what planet are we on?” is answerable by “the planet we want to be on”.
We are not victims
Two out of every hundred people living in my part of Britain currently are infected by Covid-19 and that percentage is likely to increase through January. There is a very real chance that I and those who I love will catch the virus and the virus will kill or maim.
We are not victims of the virus, any more than we are victims of cancer or of the threat of terror. These existential risks are tiny compared to those of cholera, Spanish flu or of war, that faced people in London a century ago. We have grown accustomed to immunity from existential threat and this is not necessarily a good thing.
In confronting the chance of our dying and dying pretty soon, we can look at our living in a different and more purposeful way. Attenborough at 94 has no thought of dying but only of the good that he can do when alive. I feel more capable as I enter my 60th year, than at any time in my life, not least because I am aware of these threats not just to my – but to my planet’s existence.
We are not victims of these threats, we are the super-heroes we want to be, facing these threats and dealing with them.
A message of joy
It’s Christmas Day- joy to the world! I am off to Church to praise my God who was born a child on earth this day 2020 years ago.
I wish every person who is reading this blog a happy Christmas day and I hope that in reading this blog , you feel you can change yourself. Several of my friends face the real prospect of dying in the next few months, I will be praying for you as you struggle with your illnesses and their consequence.
Most of us have the prospect of a longer and healthier existence, for which we must count ourselves lucky.
But whatever our prospects, the world today is ours for the living and it is a joyful blessed place, if we have Christmas in our hearts!