Bearers of light in the darkness of night
For any person, with a deep awareness of others, sharing ‘tidings of comfort and joy can be a challenge – given all that seems to ail our dear world at this current time. Even in Bethlehem itself, there will be no happy children singing in the square. There won’t even be Christmas lights. Instead of shepherds singing with angels, it is the women of Jerusalem who are weeping.
Perhaps, like myself, you have been somewhat bewildered by the hugely diverse reactions to global events, particularly the situation in the Middle East. These opinions range from furious rage to a kind of helpless detachment. I myself fell to reflecting on that same landscape two thousand years ago. Rome was a cruel occupying force, corruption was rampant, men and women were being tortured and put to death, and perhaps worst of all, the first born male children in Bethlehem were about to be slaughtered. What on earth could the angels have meant when they proclaimed ‘peace on earth and goodwill to all men’? It is little wonder that so many potentially kind hearts have become disengaged or cynical.
Over the last few weeks a further image has kept coming to my mind. It is that of a simple man of faith in purple weeping at our Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A man surely weeping with the women of Jerusalem too. A man seeking healing and reconciliation and peace in the midst of overwhelming odds. Perhaps this may be the true meaning of Christmas, the miracle we are called upon to witness and participate in. That in spite of our human need for power and control and revenge, we also possess the paradoxical capacity for kindness and compassion, reconciliation and forgiveness. Often, alongside the darkest dark we may, if we seek it, find the lightest light. Perhaps the enduring message of Christmas is to recognise that there is another way of being and of embracing the paradoxes in being fully human. A poet once said that while violent wars rage on, some of us are called to consciously wage peace not only in our own hearts but in the daily circumstances of our lives. The same applies to joy and to love. To accomplish this is certainly not always our inclination but it remains a blessed invitation.
Here at Temenos, in our own little way, we are lighting candles of hope for peace at all our sacred spaces, spaces that honour different paths we choose to follow towards wholeness and holiness. One morning, some years back, I came across Oom Jan, our elderly gardener at Temenos, leaning over a bench and gazing into the garden. To my surprise he stood up and spoke the following words –
‘I know what this place is about!’
Intrigued, I waited for his answer.
‘God comes here to rest awhile’
Bless all of you all who have come to Temenos, and who by your gentle presence have created an oasis of peace, inclusivity and tolerance. May it continue to be a light that shines against the darkness. In its own little way, perhaps like the human heart, it strives to be a Garden of the Beloved.
New Year at Temenos
For over 25 years, Temenos has offered an alternative and magical way to welcome the New Year. Join us from 21h00 and to take some quiet time out in The Well, consciously letting go of the old and welcoming the new. Then walk the beautiful, candlelit spiral into 2024.
Entrance through the Reception side gate in Bree Street.
New Year Special
12, 13,14 January
Come and enjoy a weekend at Temenos and get Sunday night free.
Single R950 per night : Double R1300 per night
10% off meals at Tebaldi’s and Out of Africa
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
Thinking of getting married to your Beloved in 2024? Take the decision before January 31st , reserve the centre, and you and your partner will receive free accommodation PLUS a voucher for return visits on your many anniversaries.