Joy to the World!
Finally, I think that I have a handle on Christmas this year, at last! Getting home from work last Saturday to find the Christmas tree up, decorated and with lights twinkling was a lovely surprise which has really helped to introduce some Christmassy cheer to our house.
Last week I have also been often surrounded by lots of children very excited about Christmas and you can’t help but be affected by their joyful mood. I was lucky enough to have this past week off work and was able to fully immerse myself in the world of the ‘helping mum’. There were two performances of the school play on Monday, the school Christmas party on Wednesday afternoon and the Carol Concert on Friday morning. Proud mummy moments galore and, even if as a woodland creature my little one couldn’t quite deliver her lines in the play with as much flourish as she managed at home, she made a lovely Mary for the Nativity!
Having the house to myself during the day also gave me the opportunity to take my time with the present wrapping (not my favourite thing in the world) which I usually find rather frustrating. So, the stocking is done and the presents to go under the Christmas tree are all sorted and hidden away. Confirmed detailed plans are in place for family visits, quite a few meals made and in the freezer and all the cards I needed to send were posted in time to get there before the big day. A week well spent, and I am now really looking forward to Christmas.
Getting home tonight I will be setting up our nativity scene and lighting our advent candle with my daughter. I realise that I am so incredibly fortunate to have a happy, healthy family and to live in such a beautiful and safe place. Even in my lucky position, as I wrote about previously, Christmas can seem overwhelming. If this time of year brings back sad and not magical memories, or the intense bombardment of the image of the perfect family Christmas only increases feelings of loneliness, financial pressure or emotional stress, the onset of festivities must bring with it dread and deep unhappiness. I hope that I would be sensitive to anyone around me who might be feeling this way and try, in some way, to be of comfort.
We might not be able to come over all Good King Wenceslas and provide a feast of meat and wine and winter fuel for those in need but we can all do our own little bit. If a neighbour is on their own, why not invite them round for a quick Christmas drink and a mince pie, or if you are thinking of going to a local carol service, why not offer a lift to someone who may like to go but can’t get there. As the Angels sang to the shepherds as they watched over their flocks “All glory be to God on high and to the earth be peace, goodwill henceforth from heaven to men, begin and never cease!”
And as a good Welshman once said – Merry Christmas, Everyone!