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,
 and drawers.
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.

 Be Blessed 
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.

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