Christmas message

The Festive season is approaching and we have had an absolutely wonderful frost up at the burial ground.  Frost fingers as long as two centimentres on all the stems of the trees and beautiful spider's webs and sharply outlined blackberry leaves.  I took some photographs which in due course I shall work out how to upload!  I was on Radio Oxford recently on a chat programme about Christmas and other subjects and I felt I missed an opportunity to say to people who are bereaved that we know what a hard time it can be and to those of you who have friends or family who have been bereaved, don't wait for people to ask for support just ask if there is anything they need.  My experience is we seldom regret saying anything but rather regret not doing so.  In fact, the lesson we seem to learn everyday is that being brave about the whole subject of death and dying can bring so much peace of mind and break down a sense of isolation as long as we go about it with sensitivity and honesty.  I shall be on Radio Oxford again this Sunday reviewing the papers with Bill Heine.  So wish me luck and I hope I manage to say something meaningful.  Last week I was in Devon and witnessed a very moving funeral for a homeless man who had died on the streets of Totnes.  A collection was made in the town to cover the costs of his funeral and his coffin was carried by a whole series of people from the community as readings were spoken and music played at different places along the way. It was a proper honouring of a sadly short life and asked some difficult questions about how such a death could occur in the twenty first century.  I was very glad to have been there and could see it brought a lot of comfort to the family who were there and those who had known him.