Tag Archives: Christmas

The Ghosts of Christmas past. 

Perhaps somewhere in a different time we share Christmas day together. You bring your family. We share tales of growing up separately but bound by blood. Perhaps it begins an annual tradition of meeting and exchanging gifts and sharing each other’s lives. 

Meanwhile in a different realm I bring home a special guest. We laugh at the repeats on the TV and bicker over Brussel sprouts.

Later after you’ve had a glass or two and your pipe you fall asleep in the armchair, your cracker hat slightly askew as you snore gently . I look at you and think “when did you get old?”. I remember you carrying me up the stairs to bed in your arms when I fell asleep downstairs. So strong then but now you resemble an old comfy arm chair yourself. The children look at you and giggle. I shush them anxious not to stress the fragile brokered  Christmas peace. 

In still another time, she is there.  Laughing with the children, making merry with the sherry. Making us scream with laughter at her awful charade reenactments. I dream she has had a happy life, a life of peace and wishes fulfilled. 

Lastly in another Christmas I bounce upon my knee a little one. I can see their tiny fingers and their rosebud mouth. They look at their siblings, desperate to join in the fun and excitement. “Soon” I tell them. “Soon you’ll be old enough”.
This Christmas will be a happy one. We have lots of blessings to be grateful for. We love our little family. I won’t feel anything amiss. 
But sometimes I wish the ghosts of Christmas past would collide. 

Too much of a good thing?

3.45pm Christmas Day  is said to be the optimal time for families to begin bickering amongst themselves. The presents have been exchanged and oohed and ahhed and “You shouldn’t have” over and copious amounts of food has been consumed and real life returns with a vengeance. As if we buy into the lie that Christmas must be perfect and our personalities must be squashed and sat upon until we are unrecognisable to ourselves.

It seems the pressure of striving for perfection coupled with added stress of protracted family time reignites the powder keg of egos setting sparks and words flying like weapons.

Biblically speaking Iron sharpens iron but if this is so why does it hurt so much to have our abrasive edges rubbed off? Is it the sacrificing of egos or dying to self that causes our pain to spring to the surface like a blushing bruise?

Every single example I can bring to mind of people I struggle to get on with the uppermost feeling is initially regret and  then hatred of what they bring out in me. They literally bring out my worst. They set me on edge.

However if I were able to take a more balanced view perhaps it would be apparent that they require more time and effort on my part and that is why I resent them and feel guilty about them.

The effort involved to smile pleasantly while making what seems to me inane conversations, the literal biting of my lips to bite back retorts that come to mind when they tear down those I care about cost me. Yet it is nothing in comparison to the allowances and grace that my loving Saviour extends to me several times a day.

Happy  Christmas all x

Joy in the Season.

It was wonderful today to watch my youngest Isabella being a shepherd in her school nativity play. She is 7 now and the last year she has changed so much in terms of her confidence. Whereas a few years ago she cried the entire length of her play and was thoroughly overwhelmed, today she was happy and smiley and full of joy. She only had a small role but and I know I’m obviously biased here she gave it her all. I’m so proud of her and so blessed with all my children.

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Isabella.

The sadness of the rain (Wed Fiction)

The rain is incessant here today. Great globules of glistening raindrops that hurl themselves in a fury at the windows. An arc of lightning flashes in the clouds illuminating the rain-sodden landscape. Then, a peal of thunder so loud I almost consider diving under my bed until I catch hold of myself and remember I’m not a child any more. I count the seconds till it comes again so I know how close by it is. It’s surely not far. Perhaps as far as the bridge in the village.

I remember being children and hiding under the covers, quaking with fear , attempting to laugh each other out of our terror when the thunder came. He used to say it was God moving the furniture and I used to tell him “Sshhhh” . It felt irreverent somehow. He’d pull a face mockingly but then hold his tongue . We were always close, even though he was younger. I used to pretend he was mine. I never told him that.

This Christmas I am alone. My friends, so steadfast at first, have been slowly reabsorbed into the bosom of their own families and my parents have mercifully died. I don’t mind being alone, truly.  It’s  easier than pretending I am over it or it doesn’t hurt any more.

I sit by the fire and  watch Songs of Praise on Christmas Eve, my one concession to the season. I go to bed early and lay awake for hours, thinking about him. I finally drift off and am woken from random dreams by the clatter of the letterbox.

The wind is always a stealthy visitor to my cottage attempting to gain entrance wherever it can, the gaps around the windows, blowing through the key holes like a desperate invisible guest.

I light  another fire in the living room shivering as I do so in my feeble dressing-gown. I open the card that has been  lying on the mat and add it to the collection on the mantelpiece. It is from Mrs.Roberts next door. She must have dropped it in on her way to church.

In the beginning, she  seems glad to have me for a neighbour until she realises how standoffish I am. She calls me a loner and she’s given up trying to get me to go next door for a meal. I know she is just trying to be neighbourly but I don’t want the commitment of letting her close to me.

Some time later I sit down and get on with the job in hand. No huge Christmas dinner for me. Mine will be a microwave meal. Why go to fuss when there is only me to eat it?

I lay the present on the paper and cut it to size, neatly wrapping it and attaching the tag. I sit and chew the end of the pen for a minute while I think of what to write. In the end I  write his name and a kiss.

The first Christmas I  spent ages trying to decide on the perfect gift. That was in the beginning when I was hopeful. This year it is just a token gift. I write the card and then balance the present on the top of the pile. Five gifts. One for every year he has been missing.

And… Breathe…

Thankfully it’s now the evening of Boxing Day and things are winding down with regards to the Christmas celebrations. We had yesterday to ourselves other than church, which was a real treat as it meant we could do everything to our timescale as opposed to that of guests. Come the evening we were all settled in front of a roaring log fire, just happily being together.
Today was spent visiting family. After all the mad rush to be ready in time for Christmas it’s a relief to have it over to a certain extent.

Why do we feel so much pressure to have everything perfect this time of year? To buy the perfect presents? Cook the perfect meal?
I don’t know but it’s difficult to not give in to the hype sometimes.

It’s all relative though isn’t it when you think that some people don’t have anything this time of year and thousands of children are homeless.

Makes me count my blessings.

Hoping that you all enjoy and survive unscathed the rest of the holidays!

Till next time.

Jesus is always the reason for our Season.

It’s Christmas Eve and there are no chestnuts roasting on our fire. There’s no sugar plums dancing in the visions in our heads. But there is an air of happiness in our household. Despite the children’s petty squabbling sometimes there is excitement and anticipation in the air.

Gratitude is the watchword. Gratitude that we’ve made it through our own personal annus horribilus, although that may still be to come.
Gratitude for my new friends and followers on here who have brought inspiration and warmth into my blogging life.

However you feel about Christmas and whether you celebrate it or not or believe it all grew out of a pagan festival, we will be celebrating Jesus. Scholars are actually of the opinion that Jesus wasn’t born in December but that his birth date was moved to line up calendar issues.

It doesn’t matter to me. I will be celebrating Jesus. His understated birth in a smelly stable. The gifts the wise men brought that point towards his death and burial and his eventual resurrection.

Without Christ there is no Christmas because he didn’t stay that baby in the manger but grew up to become a loving man who died to save all of us because He loves us , whether we acknowledge it or not. Son of God, Son of man, Redeemer, Wonderful Counselor. Almighty God.

Happy Christmas guys

Suzi. Xx

A small dash of magic. (Wed Fiction)

Emily hid behind the rails of children’s clothes and peeped out shyly. The giant Superstore clad in all its Christmas attire was pretty daunting to a young girl like her but her gaze was fixed on something taking place in the parking lot and her eyes glistened in rapture. The car park was frantic with cars this time of year and reckless shoppers had abandoned their vehicles, double parked and run inside to grab their last-minute gifts. The poor staff member who had the unenviable job of manning the customer tannoy was beside herself trying to keep up with the flow of car recall announcements. There was only a short time left till closing and tempers were fraught. So much for the season of goodwill.

Emily, however, was watching a man in the Car park. He looked to be trying to direct the traffic. He wore no staff uniform but carried an air of respect. He was about 5 foot 10 with a white fluffy beard and a tummy that spoke of many mince pies. He wore a red hat and braces and his hands were thrust into red woollen gloves.

Emily’s mother finally caught sight of her in her hiding place and after admonishing her for causing unnecessary worry followed her gaze through the decorated window. “Come on Ems, we’re done here and I still have to call by Niemans before we can even contemplate going home”.

Unwillingly Emily allowed her mother to prise her away and out of the shop. Emily wanted to see more of the man. She was certain she knew who he was.

After five minutes fruitless searching they had to admit they couldn’t remember where they had parked the car and Emily’s mum surveyed the snaking queue of traffic at the car park exit anxiously. She tried pressing and repressing the key fob in the hopes it would turn on the lights and give a clue to the car’s whereabouts. No Joy. By now her mother was in full panic flow and Emily, sensing the need for intervention, turned on the spot and caught the eye of the man she’d been studying earlier.

He paused to dispense some last-minute advice and made his way over to them. “Excuse me Mrs.” he began, winking at Emily as he spoke.”Can I help you at all? You look a little in need of help”. “Look Mr.Klaus” she said looking at the badge that was pinned to his braces, “I’ve got a thousand and one things to do, I’ve got a daughter who needs feeding. I appreciate you’re trying to help but it’s not needed. I can manage perfectly well”. At the mention of the stranger’s name Emily’s eyes had widened even further.

She tapped her Mother’s arm impatiently to try to get her attention. “Mrs.Evans, it is Mrs.Evans, isn’t it? he began , “It’s Christmas Eve, it’s late, you’re tired. Please let me help you. It would be my pleasure and more to the point it’s my job.”

Protesting feebly she allowed herself to be propelled across the car park with Emily in tow. He showed no hesitation and seemed to know exactly where he was going. “Ta da” he said, pointing at her forlorn looking car. “I believe this is yours”. “But how could you possibly know that? I didn’t get the chance to tell you”.

“Mrs.Evans , I make it my business to know things. That’s the line of work I’m in, but if you want a simpler answer lets just say it’s magic”.