Finding hope in the darkness

Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:36-38

Hope at Christmas. What does it mean to you? What did it mean for Mary when she faced the Angel Gabriel as he uttered the (literally) immortal line, ‘Do not be afraid….’?

She heard the news that was to change her life forever and Gabriel then threw in the revelation that Mary’s cousin Elizabeth – who’d hoped against hope for children for many, many years – really was pregnant. Within that family, this was a game-changer, showing just how much God cares for individuals and doesn’t know what impossible means.

My Christmas hope came out of darkness almost 10 years ago when my wonderful dad, almost entirely lost in the fog of dementia, was unwell in hospital.

I made the 250-mile journey to look into my dad’s face – and saw not a trace of remembrance. ‘Our Karen’ did not exist any more, at least in dad’s world. The little girl inside me sobbed for the music loving, silly, kind, generous dad –the dad who stood alongside me at Liverpool matches and sang You’ll Never Walk Alone with gusto – even though he was a lifelong supporter of the Red’s footballing rivals, Everton. That’s true love for you.

How could I communicate again with a man whose conversation had become nothing more than a disjointed stream of consciousness? I prayed for help. ‘Do not be afraid…’ And the answer came loud and clear. Not a Psalm, not a Bible reading – it was The Goons’ Ying Tong Song.

Dad had always loved Spike Milligan and Co so I launched into the familiar refrain. Soon, we were singing together. Amazing Grace was next on the list, ‘I once was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see.’

The confusion returned all too soon but in the midst of it all, I whispered, ‘God loves you, dad. You know that, don’t you?’ The babble stopped, he turned and looked at me, ‘O I know THAT.’

The moment was over in an instant, but his assurance was a gift from God because nothing is impossible when we, like Mary, say ’yes’ to Him.




Karen is Writer and Media Officer for Fresh Expressions.  Karen, who lives in Worthing, has always been involved in journalism and she still loves meeting people, hearing their stories and passing the word on to others.


Daily Share

I’m now a Dementia Friend with the Alzheimer’s Society and am proud to be a host for Contact the Elderly monthly tea parties. How could you bring hope into the lives of those who may be forgotten this Christmas? How about contacting a local nursing home to find out if there’s anyone who never gets a visitor or a card – and do something about it?