Saturday, 1 December 2012
The Run Up to Christmas and All That
Today finds me a bit under the weather with a cough
and general feeling of slight mallaise.
It's that time of year.
It's also the time of year when we are winding up to Christmas,
or at least if you are like me,
beginning to think about winding up to Christmas.
I am not the sort who can buy Christmas presents in the sales
just after Christmas so that I'm in pocket,
as well as organised and ready for the next one.
I am the sort who is still hoping that the whole thing will go away and give me time to get organized
a week or two before the actual event.
This is particularly true now
we are no longer the hosts for the main event.
I don't have the same pressure of meeting dead lines now you see.
In those days I was the one who made the family Christmas cake, (with two granddaughters in tow
enthusiastically sprinking flour all over the working tops),
and planning the decorations,
trimming the tree,
ordering and cooking the bird,
and generally preparing the house
so that it was as welcoming and fragrant with Christmas
as I could make it.
The moment that really began the count down in earnest
was when I opened the door to my parents
who travelled up from Wales each year
to be with this part of the family
that had somehow got sent to Coventry.
I poured all the love I had for them into the little things
like making the beds with their favourite flanelette sheets,
and making space for their clothes
by emptying hangers,
Putting a few fresh berries and leaves in a little vase
on the chest in their room.
Having the things they liked to eat and drink on hand,
and above all ensuring
they were toasty warm and comfortable.
Just the ordinary things you do for guests really,
but done in the knowledge of how little they had had in life
and longing to cosset them whilst I had the chance.
Though Mam and Dad died years ago,
for some reason this year I find myself
especially longing for those days again.
I am surprised at the depth of my longing,
and realise there is still some saying "Good bye" I have not done.
Some letting go I still need to do.
Tomorrow is the beginning of Advent.
This is the season signifying the end of the liturgical year,
the beginning of Church's new year,
and the true run up to Christmas for Christians.
Like many others I am much more in tune
with keeping this,
than I am with the world's whirlygig way
of counting down the days.
This year as I enter this Advent season
I will be attending to letting go
some remaining grief for my parents,
and perhaps for my own younger days too.
The lighting of the first Advent candle
will be part of that letting go for me.
Only as we fully let go the past
can we begin to enter into the promise of the new thing.
Advent offers us the chance to
look towards the most wonder-filled New Thing.
this weekend by giving yourself the little treat of a few minutes
out of the world's whirlygig way.
To understand the run up to Christmas we call Advent, you can check out this little video.