Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Last Book of the Year

 I was determined to get to twenty-four books by the end of this month- surely it is possible, even in this uncomfortably hot sandwich time of life, to read two books a month?! So, in the interests of both speed and relevance, I reached a few nights ago for this Platonic ideal of a Christmas book.

We are having a wonderful Christmas break, with just the right balance between exciting things and time quiet at home, or indeed long mornings in bed! We have been up a misty, snowy mountain, into town with sales shoppers, to the cinema to see Voldemort and Professor Snape try their hand at the Star Wars genre for a little change, and have cooked and cooked and fed and fed.

Already feeling alarmed that this time, even this time, will pass, I dearly want to hold on to Scrooge's resolution (in the absence of any others) that, "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
We had a wonderful sermon this morning, from three passages at the start of Luke- passages where different characters from the Nativity narrative are told not to be afraid. If I had two resolutions for whatever shall unfold next year, this would be the second!

Apparently, as farcebook said last week so it must be true, an old Irish tradition is to light a candle in the window on Christmas Eve to promise hospitality to the traveller. Always late, I'm lighting my unlit Advent candles tonight. They are a pale imitation of that bright moon shining beyond the pane, but they reflect our desire to shine what light we can here where we are. You are always welcome! May you know God's blessing and light in your heart, and all the year, with much love from the Meadowplace,

Mags and men x 

Monday, 25 December 2017

Third, fourth and Merry Christmas!

 We're having a relatively balmy Christmas this week, as opposed to just a while ago when these pictures were taken! How we loved our first heavy snowfall in this house. Earth really did stand hard as iron after a two day freeze, and the snowman stood as high as the boys for quite some time after.
 A prayer from one of my reflections last week said, "Pour down, oh heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness." I smiled as I listened, and replaced rain with snow- let the skies snow down righteousness. This struck me as beautifully apt, standing only because I know that God sees me clothed in Jesus, as bright and shining as my muddy garden clothed in pure snow.
This morning I was reading the end of Romans 16, marvelling at a terrestrial night when the celestial mystery of Jesus could break through. Merry Christmas, bloggistes, and a mysterious one too x

Thursday, 14 December 2017

A second (possibly even later) Pause in Advent

This is our Advent calendar. For the last few years we have filled each pocket with both a sweet and a challenge. The latter are vaguely along the lines of random acts of kindness: so far I have had to feed the birds, give my teacher the sweet and wish her happy Advent, and phone someone who lives far away.

Earlier this week Jo's challenge was to write a Christmas poem, so without further ado, here is our strawberry reflection for this week. (He also bakes!)

Winter is coming
Christmas's dawn
He may be in Heaven
But he's not gone
He's lifting our spirits
Stopping the suns
And his name
It is Jesus

Thursday, 7 December 2017

A (characteristically belated) Pause in Advent

Dear Baby Jesus,
I know that I keep you small and baby-like in my life. Swaddled in a corner with my dusty Bible amid the novels that I do get on and read. My babies cried for attention, and they cry less now, but it's all attention anyway. Attention to meal-times and homeworks and this week's exam revision, and bathtimes and bedtimes and fall asleep on the sofa after times. Attention to school runs and hospital appointments and dentist appointments and all the things that fill a diary without even thinking about the special events of this month. Into all this attention, please be bigger than the space I give you,

O come, o come, Emmanuel.

Dear Boy Jesus,
You honoured Mary and Joseph, but kept your eye on your Father. You knew His business; you knew His place. This sandwich generation thing goes up a gear when it's a turkey sandwich generation thing, organising two houses for food and presents and cards. But more than that, wanting two homes to be filled with joy of the season, joy of lights and warmth and fun. Wanting the ones who have given everything to you at all times to have everything that makes their Christmas right. Into two homes, with all their expectations, spoken or barely acknowledged, with all your pointing to our Father,

O come, o come, Emmanuel.

Dear Man Jesus,
It was always going to involve death. It wasn't all about the death; there was the resurrection after that changes everything, but you knew there had to be a death. This Advent you know the ones who are waiting but not for Christmas Day, the ones for whom Christmas Day will never be the same again, because that's the season she left them, for an earthly time. Into the places where grief sings louder than the carols and the Pogues,

O come, o come, Emmanuel.

Dear Jesus,
I don't know how this happened, this all-consuming focus on being ready, this year round. Ready for what? I'm usually all about the making space for Advent, the taking of the time to celebrate presence, that doesn't come in an Amazon box. I haven't time for that this year, haven't thoughts for that this year. Must be ready, must write my lists. Ready for one day? Have I really fallen prey? Into this lamentable state of affairs, my Jesus,

O come, o come, Emmanuel

Happy St Patrick's Day!

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