Reading this poem today, of all days, has made me startlingly aware of some of the contradictions within myself. I do not think of myself as a very materialistic person. I am not particularly interested in money or gadgets or clothes or ‘stuff’ and am generally content to hold lightly to earthly treasures. (Although I do have a sneaking sympathy with St Jerome, heading into the desert to live the life of a hermit, taking nothing… except his vast library!) And yet…
Today I received a gift which I will cherish. It is not expensive or valuable in the conventional sense of ‘treasure’. It is a Christmas present from my Mum – a set of 7 metal pastry cutters, the exact double of the ones my Mum inherited from my beloved Granny. And I will cherish them not because of what they are, but what they represent – the sense of being known and loved enough for someone to know this is exactly the right gift for me, and why; the sense of being entrusted with the keeping of family traditions which bind together the people I love most; the sense of standing in a long line of strong women who make good pastry (and everything else that goes with that inheritance).
Perhaps the moral of the story is this: hold lightly to the pastry cutters, but hold tightly to the love they represent, which is the true treasure of heaven, made real and concrete on earth.
This year for #AdventBookClub a group of us are reading “In The Bleak Midwinter” by Rachel Mann. Join us on Facebook or Twitter for daily reflections and discussions. We are also raising money for the Trussell Trust: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adventbookclub2019.