Walking down the High Street
listening out for the sound of the Salvation Army band
hearing instead the funny hooter of the candy floss maker
trying to snare the children or those with sweet tooth
and the call of the news vendor
peddling depressing headlines.
Being assaulted by bubbles
spewing out of the early learning centre.
And then the band appears
accompanied by carol singers
and collectors with bells
and the angels unfurl their wings
and blanket the earth with peace and goodwill
There’s a pause in the music as they decide what to play next
As the cornet player blows on his fingers to warm them
he sends up a prayer for the homeless family he found shelter for last night
As the collector waves her bucket
she prays for the youngster who needed an emergency payment
because he’s not on the system yet
As the carol singer passes the boiled sweets around
she gives thanks for the food parcels she will distribute later
As the conductor raises his hand to begin another carol
he sees the hand of God
reaching out to all the lost and lonely
and weary and vulnerable
and hungry and poor
and homeless and forgotten
beloved of God.
Joy to the World the Lord is come!