Hello everyone! It is good to be on holiday for a week. My holiday began on Thursday evening when I collected Beth and my hubby after work, so we could go to the Acorn Centre Christmas dinner. It was good to share the occasion with all the friends I have made there. The band played some songs including Slade’s Christmas song, favourite carols like Silent Night; one of the group sang the Spaceman carol beautifully. It really seemed to me that Christmas proper had begun. On Friday we set about putting up decorations and placing our manger scenes strategically round the rooms, as we remember the birth of the child Jesus, who grew up to show us God’s unconditional accepting love of us. He showed us how to live close to God and love others especially those who are regarded as outcasts and sinners. To me the message of Christmas is hope and peace and goodwill towards all. Jesus showed us the compassion and forgiving love of the Father; his best illustration for me was the prodigal son, where the father looks out for his wayward son, and runs to welcome and accept him without waiting for him to say sorry. God the father longs to welcome us with open arms, rather like I remember my first husband Stephen doing, when the girls ran into his arms as children!
We also have a special crib scene made in Bethlehem with a wall separating the Kings from the stable scene with the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph! It illustrates the way the Palestinians have been cut off from their lands and livelihood often by the Israeli occupation. It is symbolic of all those deprived of justice in our world today. Jesus still comes to this world and longs to hold those who suffer and hurt in his arms. He is still sharing the pain with them.
On a lighter note we had our family Carol service, which was lovely. A university student sang ‘Silent night’ beautifully and teenagers and youth leaders read the Bible readings. The children lit the four candles of the Advent wreath for the fourth Sunday in Advent to begin the service. Two young mums sang a Christmas carol beautifully. Soon the youngest children were ready to play their part ranging in age from 3-8! They did it really well. The eldest girl read the narration of the events, whilst Mary and Joseph came to the inn, where there was no room, and the innkeeper held up the sign, ‘FULL!’ and pointed to the cattle shed. Mary in her regal beauty was taller than Joseph. Soon the shepherd was coming with a lovely sheep, who was the tiniest child. The angel came to see the shepherds, and he was dressed in a white dress with flowing sleeves, rather like a medieval costume; it was lovely to see him flapping his arms up and down like wings! The little sheep and the little donkey, both very young boys, were lovely, especially the sheep, who peeped out of his sheep ears, and was nearly lost under his sheepskin coat! The tableau of children then sang ‘Little Donkey’.
That song takes me back years till when Cathy was only four; she had the part of Mary in the playgroup nativity. She had to sing ‘Little Donkey’, but she was not keen. She would sing little donkey, little donkey, as we practised. She was always active, in fact still is, very active, so she could not sit still. I have lovely photos of her pulling up her costume skirt showing her tights, and certainly not sitting elegantly!
I love being with my beloved and sharing my life with him. We had delicious roast gammon with my beloved excellent roast potatoes for lunch today. He never loses his touch of genius with his flavouring and culinary skills. This is the day that the Lord has made and I rejoice and am glad in it!