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I opened the Christmas Card envelope and inside, I found a robin, sitting on the branch of a holly bush.

The red of the berries and the breast of the bird remind me behind our Christmas celebrations there is a lot of blood. As my mother would say, "There are always tragedies over the Christmas period." The tsunami in Thailand was at Christmas. On the days after Christmas, the Church's liturgical colour is decidedly red.

Boxing Day is the feast of Stephen, the first Christian martyr who was stoned to death for his faith. On October 28 we remember the innocent children massacred by King Herod after the holy birth. The murder of Archbishop Thomas A Becket took place in his Cathedral at Christmas time. No wonder the poet T.S.Eliot has the wise men returning home from the stable at Bethlehem asking, "Were we led all that way for a Birth or a Death?" You may say to talk of blood at Christmas spoils it all but it really puts it into context. The Christian faith was never about getting away from the ugly things of life but learning to live with them.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2012
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