N.B. The following blog is because I am reading ‘Do Nothing, Christmas Is Coming’ by Stephen Cottrell, ‘an advent calendar with a difference.’
It’s a strange Christmas this year: partly because my family are scattered across the country/world, and partly because it is the first Christmas since as long as I can remember where I haven’t been to church at all in the week leading up to Christmas. This year I am far away from church on Christmas eve, Christmas Day, I haven’t even attended a Candlelit Carol Service. I guess that’s why it doesn’t feel so much like Christmas.
But then again – this Christmas has reminded me more of my childhood. Back to the days when Christmas was exciting. When Christmas traditions filled me with joy, and the laughter and lights of the holiday season brought us together as a family. Over the last week I have seen many of my family, aunts, cousins, grandparents and siblings. I have been able to get to know people on a much deeper level than their Facebook profile – get the heart of what makes people tick and the things that are really precious to them.
Amongst all that, I have taken some time off, and not felt the need to answer every call for my attention. I am a human who needs to recharge, needs to accept my own weakness and my own downfalls, and remember that family is important. I spend a lot of time putting my family second to the demands of youth work/church. But at Christmas, as ‘churchy’ a celebration as we like to make it, I have chosen to reverse that balance. Tomorrow I will spend time with my sister Laura and her husbands’ family. Boxing Day I will spend time with my siblings. And I will not regret the time that I did not spend at Church. For I worship a God who is bigger than the buildings we so often attempt to confine him in, and I will instead find wonder in the day of celebration for the child who was born into the simplicity of a stable.
"May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace."
Merry Christmas everyone.
DNCIC recommendations for today:
· Now that all of the preparations are done – or at least now that there is no more time for any more preparing – stop, and find a place of quiet.
· Be still. Get inside the Christmas story. Sit down. Make yourself smaller. In your imagination go to
. Bend beneath the lintel of the door
of the stable and come in. Bethlehem
· God comes to us in the vulnerability of a child. We can come to him in stillness. We can find him in silence. And Christmas can be put back together. And enjoyed.
“Christmas renews our youth by stirring our wonder. The capacity for wonder has been called our most pregnant human faculty, for in it are born our art, our science, our religion.” Ralph Sockman