Christmas is Coming!

The title is more than apt! I look at this time of year with one of anticipated expectation of something of celebration. It is like that occasion when you wander up a hill but, the top seems insurmountable, well until you are there. Then of course the other side, the coming down from the summit is the easier part of the endeavour. It is a great time of year if you have family to go to or invite. I use to cook Christmas dinner and at least my Mother and Step Dad, and sister and brother-in-law, and their kids, came to celebrate. I would cook my best Corden bleu recipes albeit borrowed from some famous chefs, and thoroughly indulge in a spate of cooking roast turkey, and some amazing variants of the roast/boiled potato varieties, and also things like puree’s both of the swede and carrot type, and sometimes the sprouts ended up like a pea green mix with ground hazelnuts and sour cream. Of course if you are cooking for others, it all seems very worth while.. I use to love cooking.

The problem however, is in recent years, I have lost relatives who I consider ‘loved ones’, there is always the inevitable pang of pain, and I wonder why? Why have so many of my loved ones gone so soon? Old age took my parents, but, my sister Alison, died at the age of fifty-five. She caught a disease called motor neurons and went from a happy exercise teacher to someone unable to walk or do much for herself. My art teacher lost her daughter in much the same way but to a thing called Multiple Sclerosis. Both of course are nervous diseases affecting mobility. To me all this was the same trauma level of a car crash. I will never quite understand that both my sisters have left Earth, around the same age. My elder sister Margaret also died but of cancer caused by the sun, in the form of sarcoma. Margaret was a great older sister, and when once I moved back to London from the coast, she sent via my mother, a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry. I loved it. I thought what a magnificent gift. It is odd now, I think of Christmases that ‘worked’, that meant something, that were good to remember. When we were all there together. It is heart wrenching, now to think of who has gone and I do linger after the people who are still there from my childhood.

Mother’s mean so much. My own mother always, always cared about me throughout my adult life. So yes, they are sometimes there in the air, around me. I have to do justice to their trust. I find myself thinking about how they taught me my values. It is for this reason, I also linger on the memory of childhood. It is not every person who can say they were a happy child, but, although by no means were we the wealthiest family, I still had a happy childhood of exploration, and play. It is so important that children are allowed to do that. Do not make adults of children before they are ready to progress. I think I can truly say this I loved my childhood.

Christmas has to mean something for the celebrations to be honourable. It is the birth of Jesus, and also as this is significant, in the establishment of God’s relationship with mankind, it is a time to connect with our Maker through His Son. So be there at His table on Christmas morning! There is something wonderful about grace given to us through prayer. Faith helps me bridge that gap. The one left by loss. I have to believe that my relatives are safe in His care. Loss is so hard to cope with. I would love to tell people what it means to God Himself. There is but love flowing from His mountain. All the emptiness of a material life, cannot be changed unless we grow some understanding of Spirit. Everyone has a soul. And a soul needs nurture. I once let my son wander up to the nativity scene at my home church in Southampton, he was very young only a toddler, but even that memory is a comfort. People all over the world will be feeling loss this Christmas, but, I would love and hope that you seek some wonderful grace from the service at Christmas at your local church. Do not be afraid to go in. ‘Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel … born in Israel…….’

Here’s an example of that wonderful song for Christmas….

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