Happy Christmas!

Season’s greetings to you from down here in soggy Somerset!  The recent silence on this blog can be laid at the door of the common cold and a touchy internet connection! However, I overcome both this morning to celebrate Christmas Day with you.
I woke, coughing (much as every day this week) and wondering when I will be fit and well again.  OV is sleeping downstairs, having crept in from a midnight service and grabbed some shut eye ahead of this morning’s three services.  He has spared me the loss of sleep that clumping in with cold feet at 1.30 am would mean!
Santa has left a note telling me where to find my gifts + he(she) has tip-toed about the place positioning gifts for the lads where they will trip over them when they finally venture out of bed.
I love Christmas – a time of traditions (old and new) and a focus for frenetic energy in the darkest part of the year.
Our crib is in place in the garden – Colin and I festooned it with silver bells just before midnight, and gently laid the baby in the manger.
We eat our Christmas meal on Christmas Eve – this year, as last, with the curtains flung back to reveal the floodlit church.  The bellringers, happily for us, chose to have a joyful ring just as we were sinking our teeth into turkey and all the trimmings.  Delightful. (Or sweet potato and swede cobbler, if you were the vegetarian – a vegetable mixture topped with star-shaped cheese cobbler. Yummy!)
As ever, the cooker wasn’t big enough and, too late, I realised that I should have made the stuffing earlier.  Perhaps this year I really will sit down and write out a cookery timetable!
Once the morning services are over we wll return to the festive board for cold cuts – how I miss curried fruit chutney – no longer available in the shops here! Mango chutney and stewed apple will have to do!  Then we will adjourn to the Christmas tree and open presents – we should be finished in time to snooze before the Queen’s speech.  Then there will be the usual argument over whether TV is worth watching and, in the end, the board games will win and we’ll compete our way through the rest of the day.
Tomorrow we’ll reflect on the meaning of it all – as we contemplate a difficult year ahead. With so much gloom and doom in the news and such uncertainty about our world it is good to take a little time out to be a family and to think of the Holy family – whose unpropitious start took place in a stable.  It doesn’t get less promising than that – but look, he had a world to save – and he did! If that is a message that is hard to hear in all the accumulated ‘noise’ of a century of Christmas hype, then shut the door, turn off the telly and consider what it is that we truly celebrate at this festival. There are many who have lost the ability to see beyond the daily grind. Some whose ears are shut to a divine ‘voice’ amd would not recognise the saviour if he slipped into a seat next to them.
Christmas is for children, I hear folk say. Yes it is – for we are all children.  How sad that some have forgotten how to be a child!
So, have fun, be a child and take some time to discover whose child you are!
May your new year hopes find fulfilment and may deep joy overcome all the hurdles life sets in your way in 2009.
With very best wishes from down among the muddy lanes of Somerset.

About apthomas

I love books, reading, writing, baking, chocolate, painting, sewing, people and fairtrade - not necessarily in that order. I am a lazy gardener - who loves the garden, and a lazy housewife who likes the place to be warm and welcoming. I live in beautiful Somerset. I am enslaved by Sherpa-the-cat. Saturday mornings find me 'playing shop' in the Honey Pot - a second hand bookshop, run from my garage, where along with the books you'll find fun, friendship and refreshments - all in a good cause.
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