By Rev Dr Lynne Frith Parish Superintendent, Auckland Methodist Central Parish
“Love collapsed at Christmas” might be the headline on Monday.
It is well known that the festive season sees an increase in domestic violence and in accidental injuries. It ushers in the longer term consequences of overspending, over eating, and excessive alcohol consumption. The messages of peace and goodwill to all remind us of the need to be well-disposed, compassionate, and charitable to those around us. They are messages that do not just belong with Christmas. This week we have been reminded in graphic detail that many children and families experience little or no peace and goodwill, not only at Christmas, but every day of their lives.
While questions must be asked about the failure of social service agencies to intervene in response to reports of abuse and injury, there are questions that must also be asked of us, the community. For example, are there limits to tolerance? Is it humanly possible to show love and compassion even to those who commit horrendous acts? Does the love that comes down at Christmas, to use Christina Rossetti’s words, apply only to the clean, well fed, well behaved, socially acceptable among us, or is it like the sun and rain, falling on good and bad alike? When we see things going wrong a few houses down the street, how do we make our concerns known? Are we prepared to open our homes for foster care for desperately needy children?
The care, concern, compassion and generosity that we are exhorted from pulpit and public media to display at Christmas is sorely needed all year round.
Let this Christmas be a beginning.