REVIVE US AGAIN #5, 25 December 2016 It’s Christmas Day 1939. England has been at war with Germany for some three months. King George VI gives his Christmas Day broadcast. In his speech the King quotes this poem:
“I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year/ ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ / And he replied, ”Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God. / That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.'”
The nation still bore the scars of the First World War in which more than nine million British and Commonwealth soldiers had died. It lived in the uncertainty, privation and death that loomed with the country’s declaration of war against Nazi Germany on September 3, 1939.
The King’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth, then age 13, had handed her father the poem by Minnie Louise Haskins that she thought would be helpful in lifting the hearts of millions at that terrible time. It did, it does.
90th birthday tribute
The Bible Society, HOPE and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity in 2016 published a book to celebrate the Queens 90th birthday. In her foreword to the book the Queen said, “In my first Christmas Broadcast in 1952, I asked the people of the Commonwealth and Empire to pray for me as I prepared to dedicate myself to their service at my Coronation. I have been–and remain–very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for His steadfast love. I have indeed seen His faithfulness.”
The book, unfortunately, is not for sale. We received a gift copy from the church we attend during our winter/spring sojourns in Cornwall, UK. Thank you!, good people of St Anta & All Saints!
Following are quotes from some of Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas messages noted in the book.
1975. “We may feel powerless alone but the joint efforts of individuals can defeat the evils of our time. Together they can create a stable, free and considerate society.”
1986. “His (Jesus’) life thus began in humble surroundings. In fact in a stable, but he was to have a profound influence on the course of history, and on the lives of generations of his followers. You don’t have to be rich or powerful in order to change things for the better and each of us in our own way can make a contribution.”
2011. “Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.”
2012. “God sent his only son ‘to serve, not to be served.’ He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ.”
2015. “Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout his short life, Christ’s unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another.”
I haven’t looked up her 2016 broadcast. It was to air today at 3pm British Mean Time. Her sense of duty and her devotion to God stand out in all previous broadcasts. May her words and example find resonance in our thoughts, actions, words and heartfelt trust as we tread into the unknowns of the New Year.
Remembering Bill Mast
Our brother-in-law, William Mast died Wednesday, 21 December. He was married to Marty’s sister, Doris. Bill’s health declined in recent months, preventing him from doing what he loved: work. He worked part time at Ace Hardware in Shipshewana. His memorial service will be Wednesday 28 December at Marion Mennonite Church, rural Howe.
Bill was the same age as Queen Elizabeth. Both shared a love, a passion really, for work. The Queen still works 40 hours a week. Ever since his medical condition confined him mostly to home, Bill talked about work: “I think I’ll feel good enough to go to work tomorrow.”
Bill and the Queen shared other similarities, such as being self-effacing, committed to serving God, attending church regularly, having a mechanical bent (the queen has a mechanical aptitude and can rebuild the 6-cylinder, 3462 cc engine of an Austin K2 Ambulance). She would probably not do as Bill did this summer, regularly lie on the ground to change the blades on the riding lawn mower.
God save the Queen. God bless the testimony of Bill’s life.