Glossop Advertiser - - News - David Hol­gate, Sub-Dean of Manch­ester Cathe­dral

NOBODY knows why Elvis threw it all away

Nobody knows what Ruby had to hide

Nobody knows why some of us get bro­ken hearts

And some of us find a world that’s clear and bright...

No use in ask­ing, the an­swer is nobody knows (Paul Brady, 1991)

I was talk­ing about not know­ing to a friend yes­ter­day.

Why do some of us get cancer young, while oth­ers seem to have fairly easy lives?

Paul Brady is right, we don’t know.

In many ways, life is a mys­tery from start to fin­ish.

As I write, and even when you read this, we are also still liv­ing with the un­known out­come of Brexit.

Again, ‘no use in ask­ing, the an­swer is nobody knows’.

The same is true of the out­come of two of my favourite, un­fin­ished, Net­flix pro­grammes, The Good Place and Crazy Ex-Girl­friend.

Will they get to the good place in the end?

Will Rebecca find hap­pi­ness with a lov­ing part­ner? (Don’t tell me - I’m only on Se­ries 2. Oh, that’s okay, you don’t know either!)

It is painful to live with the un­known, es­pe­cially when it con­cerns things we care deeply about: life, love, peace, hap­pi­ness.

Is there any­thing we can do while we live with this?

The an­swer is al­ways: love one an­other, but of course this also raises more ques­tions.

And then there’s Tina Turner ask­ing, ‘What’s love got to do with it?’

Some­times if we can’t man­age love, there are things we can do that are at least a step in that di­rec­tion.

So, when we can’t love one an­other, we can at least try to be kind.

Or if we can’t be faith­ful to one an­other, we can at least try to be hon­est about our un­faith­ful­ness. That sort of thing. Yes, it does sound a bit like Love, Ac­tu­ally.

But some­times ‘Christ­massy’ things are true.

Be­cause of this, I hope that we won’t re­sist or ig­nore the Christ­mas magic which lights up our lives at this time of year.

I know that it is mainly a Chris­tian fes­ti­val and that Manch­ester is a city of many faiths, both re­li­gious and sec­u­lar.

But, as win­ter set­tles in around us, it is spe­cial to be sur­rounded by lights, colours, mu­sic and peo­ple buying gifts for other peo­ple.

It’s as if the sea­son it­self speaks to us, say­ing: Win­ter can be as beau­ti­ful as sum­mer, peo­ple are of­ten kind and hon­est, the dark­ness and cold can be cosy and rest­ful.

And, if we lis­ten, we may hear angels singing, ‘Glory to God in the high­est, and on Earth peace and good­will to all’.

As Paul Brady might have sung, ‘Who can see heaven, and not want to stay?’


● A flood­lit Manch­ester Cathe­dral

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