20 December 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like ... Christmas?

Well, the Big 'C' is almost upon us. I have to say that this year sees me feeling the least Christmassy I have ever felt, this despite having participated in two Christmas choir concerts and sung in the choir at the village carol service.

Followers of this blog will be aware that I have been busily engaged in an extended act of DIY.  I think I have this to thank for the dearth of festive cheer.  Seriously, for once I am glad of having DIY on which to spend every hour of my own spare time.  The job (decorating the hall) has managed to extend itself right up to this evening, with a final lick of paint being needed on the wall after I stuck my greasy bonce against it while fitting new skirting board.  As a consequence of this artisan activity, my involvement in the Yuletide offensive has been seriously curtailed.

I have been shopping once.

Yes, once.  Yesterday, the last Sunday before the Great Day.  I must admit to approaching the venture with a certain degree of trepidation.  I expected to encounter hundreds, if not thousands, of zombies wandering aimlessly and wondering hopelessly what to buy the missus...  Amazingly enough, the Metro Centre was busy but not heaving and no-one attempted to rip my head off; I even managed to park before running out of fuel.  My Special Forces approach to shopping—go in fast, shop hard, and get out before anyone knows I was there—worked a treat.  I was not offended by the ringing of tills or even aware of the relentless onslaught of Wizard, Slade or Wings. 

My Beloved has done her usual and excellent job of organising presents, getting clothes ready to be packed, and leading the wrapping effort, in which my index finger was usefully employed in holding down string whilst the knots were drawn tight.  I confess to having enjoyed singing along with Nat and Dean whilst proffering my finger in said occupation.

We're off to stay with family for the Festive Season, so we have not bothered with a tree or any decorations beyond a wreath on the front door, a garland over the fire, and greetings cards fixed into suspended holders that fail to hold them.

I appreciate deeply having got this close to Jesus' birthday without having to think about or be caught up in the commercialisation of it all; and mince pies are a warmly-welcomed mitigation of any negative influence, especially in the company of mulled wine.

All in all, it is the perfect Humbug's Christmas.

Except that the real meaning of Christmas, the celebration of the coming of Christ, really means something to me.  It's nice to have the space to reflect on that without it being buried under a landslide of tinsel.

Despite my hatred, if that's not too strong a word, of all the trappings of this time of year, I am looking forward to the next week or so of holiday, and especially to spending time with both sides of our family.  Even though this not particularly what Christmas is really about, it is special and treasured.

Maybe I'm not such a humbug after all...

Whoever you are, wherever you are, and however you are spending the season, I wish you joy and peace.  May you know the love of those close to you, even over the many miles that may separate you, and may you find the Gift of Christmas to be a rich source of hope and comfort for the year ahead, whatever it may bring (my Beloved is already planning the next DIY campaign).

18 December 2011

Never Mind the Chestnuts

Shepherds startled 'round an open fire,
Angel tells them what he knows—
Praises sung by a heavenly choir—
A baby's wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Everyone must know God's favour is among us so;
Shepherds rush to see the sight.
Mary and Joseph, their eyes all aglow,
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.
They know the Saviour came today
To show his Heavenly Father's love and to obey.
This virgin mother's child came from on high
So that one day for our sins he would die.
And so I'm offering this simple phrase
To everyone the whole world through,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
Merry Christmas, for you!