Monday, 23 December 2013
Our children's address yesterday was all about being rescued. I'm thankful that Jesus came to rescue, because I need that a lot.
We are falling in to bed here; four pilgrims on the way to Bethlehem, and it's very close now. I hope your journey into Christmas will be calm and fun, quiet and bustling, full of magic. Merry Christmas xx
Monday, 16 December 2013
Political rant over. Now to my Advent thought. I have been trying to have an active Advent. I am trying to use the time to look at this little Belfast life and ask God to incarnate more of Jesus in it. So this week I'm thinking about the family tickets we have for Hatch this Friday night. It's the Christmas show at the MAC in St Anne's Square. Our intention was to have dinner in one of the restaurants beforehand.
Do we cancel our tickets and cower at home and join those who would have us head straight back into the darkness of the 1970s? No. Our intention is still to eat probably in the Potted Hen, the restaurant to the immediate right of the explosion. Then we'll head in to see Hatch. Because maybe Christmas can be about taking a stand. Jesus certainly took a huge one.
Sunday, 8 December 2013
Then, when we went into the craft room to have a go at willow stars and tie wreaths, I gave everyone boxes to make. They had to have one done by the end of the night. In our last thought for the night I passed around a tin with Hope, Peace, Joy and Love written on pieces of card. Everyone had to choose one, or even more. They could choose randomly or deliberately. The point was that they could put some peace, hope, joy or love into the empty space of their own box, and fill Advent with what was important to them, as well as all the wrapping. This was Catherine's pretty nifty idea!
So this week what I am doing is trying to smile more. Broadly.
Friday, 6 December 2013
When we finally made it upstairs to be bed we still had tonight's chapter of A Christmas Mystery to read. We all caught the perfection of the introduction of Caspar into the story on the very day when they had heard of Mandela's death. (They were in bed last night when we heard.) This is what we read,
"You see, at the moment I am the only black man in the whole of Denmark, at least the only one who is a King of the Orient besides. That sort of thing attracts attention, my friends, for people find it difficult to get used to something completely different."
Thursday, 5 December 2013
and Jane in the wild woods xx
Monday, 2 December 2013
Mattman did the last of his three big tests on Saturday morning. This was a huge blessing! An end to many months of hard work on everyone's part. He wanted to go to Pizza Express for lunch afterwards, which happily lives in Belfast's very swish and lovely Victoria Square.
Christmas Starters it said on the menu, though I only realised this after I had taken the picture. It did however strike me as nicely appropriate on the first weekend in Advent. Starting to think about something that has been hidden from view by many other big issues in our Strawberry land lately.
So I am more than usually happy to be Pausing in Advent. I really didn't expect to be thinking positively about Christmas at all this year. Mum so stricken by challenge, Dad needing to be so brave and independent, Mattman studying so hard, life just so busy, the house so chaotic, time so squeezed.
Something wholly unexpected occurred though. Burst from the dark sky in the midst of mundane sheep guarding and illuminated the landscape. Not only, to quote the Grinch, "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store." But also maybe Christmas doesn't even mean family. If I believe that Christmas means Jesus, means God incarnated, means peace, hope, joy and love, then maybe that's what I have to try to live. Christmas standing immutable, regardless of everyone's circumstances or my feelings or how many lights we string around the tree. Every day.
These thoughts are my Christmas Starters this year. And if I'm going to quote Dr Seuss, then you'll know I have to quote Jostein Gaarder:
"I can't see why a little lambkin should be in such a hurry."
The angel helped her to her feet and said confidentially, "It's going to Bethlehem."
Elizabet had stopped crying, "To Bethlehem?"
"Yes. To Bethlehem, to Bethlehem! For that's where Jesus was born."
Elisabet was very surprised at what the angel said...
"Then I want to go to Bethlehem," she said.