Papering cracks or opening windows?

I was just sitting here struggling with a sermon on the fragile idea of a “happy family Christmas”, when a missive from the Twittersphere interrupted my thoughts.  Spanish company Etsy will apparently sell you a ‘Life calendar’ so  that you can track your relative happiness throughout the year. Each day is to be marked with a hand drawn emoticon, depicting happiness, sadness or something in between.  Are you tempted?


Centuries ago Abd-ar-Rahman III (pictured below) reigned as Emir and Caliph of Cordoba from 912-961, and had clearly engaged in a similar exercise. Towards the end of that time he wrote the following:

I have now reigned about 50 years, in victory or in peace.

Beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies and respected by my allies

Riches and honours, power and pleasure have waited on my call.

Nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity.

In this situation I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot.

They amount to…



Happiness is an elusive thing, it would seem.  As preachers and purveyors of good news who are aware of unhappiness around us we can do one of two things. We can  paper over the cracks in the perfect life and pretend that all is well. Alternatively – we can punch a hole through the wall which restricts people’s lives and at least provide a window onto a better vista. I’m hesitant to describe the preacher as a kind of sledgehammer wielding workman, but if the cap fits…

Maybe I should take a sledgehammer to this sermon instead of a pen!