Seasonal reflection

Seasonal thoughts

This Virgin and Child is dated 1485–90. This is the central panel that is probably painted by someone from the workshop of Gerard David or Hugo van der Goes, and the picture is in the National Gallery in London. The image is of Mary holding the infant Jesus who is playing with a red rosary. Two wings with inscriptions about Mary were added much later and are not included in this copy.

For twenty years I attended Quaker meeting for worship – a member of the Society of Friends and still value the spiritual experiences of Friends. This reflection from George Lloyd Hodgkin (1880-1918) struck me as somehow in tune with the Madonna and child.

‘So much of life is just going on and going on, long after the excitement and stimulus has faded … there is so much to ask for that I get very lost. And then I come back to the simple longings, the simplest prayers of all; that Christ may be in those we love, that our love may be more Christ-like, more unmoveable, that we may be kept sinless by some immense miracle, and by God’s side whatever happens. We must give up trying to hold His hand, and just stretch out our hands – even if they are just fists- for God to hold. There is all the difference … between holding and being held.’


And a Christmas greeting to all readers of this page – paraphrased from Thomas Merton:

All best wishes always, and every blessing in this holy season when the animals and shepherds show us the way back to our child mind and to Him in Whom is hidden our original face before we are born. Be of good cheer. They cannot silence … this Child [who] will be heard in the middle of the night saying nothing and everybody will come to their senses.