As always you can guarantee that I colide with Christmas with a huge mix of emotions. Absolutely love the idea of celebrating the birth of Christ - 'God with us' - human frailty and God stuff altogether. Actually quite appreciate the way the symbolism of the pagan festival was given new meaning by Christians - very new testament that, using shapes and symbols that are familiar to make a connection. But I really struggle with all the plastic crap and the commercial circus - so many diversions pulling against so many good intentions....
Anyway, Christmas cheer is well on the way at Zac's. We thrive and survive on a lot of goodwill from many friends and supporters throughout the year. Some of it comes from the local community, especially at this time of year. We've had donations of goods from pupils at two schools (Gowerton Comp and Penclawdd Primary), numerous individuals, The Mermaid Restaurant, the Market traders and the Uplands Diner. Infact last night the Uplands Diner put on a meal, after their usual hours, for some of our street community associated with Zac's. Was a great evening and I was personally very pleased to meet the staff who have been raising a bit of money towards our efforts over this past year.
We also had to say goodbye to Bob, (pictured), as we buried him last friday - which wasn't so cheerful, (except when someone's trousers fell down - and I don't think I've ever seen that at a funeral and I'm sure Bob would have been very amused!). Bob had been a regular at Zac's and had been 'on the road' for many many years - it was an honour to give him a dignified send off and to walk along side his family and many friends and staff from various agencies that had supported him. We shall miss him especially at Zac's on Christmas day when about 25 or so will gather for dinner.
Preparations are well under way for the additional meals on the 25th and 26th December and it continues to be great occasion for all involved and is reflective of the great atmosphere the rest of the year at all the different gatherings and mealtimes at Zac's. I am also reminded daily, that the Christ of Christmas began his human experience as a homelesss refugee....
I still love the lyric from Bruce Cockburn's Cry of a tiny babe:
"Like a stone on the surface of a still river
Driving the ripples on forever,
Redemption rips through the surface of time in the cry of a tiny babe"