“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Christmas Eve has settled upon us once again, with its magical promise of celebrations, joy and peace, and the prospect of a tasty roast dinner in good company and a present or two for the children…
As is usual at this time of year I get a tad overwrought at my workload. I do love making my children happy, and spending time with my family, but the preparations are time consuming and stressful. By Christmas I’m usually done for.
I felt this year I was managing better than previous festive holidays, but in my perceived invincibility my body had other ideas.
I convinced myself I didn’t have time to slow down, I was ramping it up another level. I had cards to write, gifts to wrap, the house to clean and tidy and a pile of laundry resembling the north face of the Eiger.
On top of that I was still concerned for my eldest son who had recently had a stint in hospital with a pneumothorax and is having to go back to cardiology for follow up tests. He doesn’t live near us so that proved an added challenge.
So much for super mum – I have been forced to slow down, to stop and take stock.
The two days of being bed ridden with every bone, sinew and muscle aching, my leaden limbs screaming yet listless, as my body was overtaken by a vicious fever, took my mind off everything other than trying not to expire.
My condition alternated between shivering so violently my whole body was shaking and my teeth were rattling in my mouth, and so I would pull on yet another jumper and feel like a yeti, only to find I was sweating for England an hour later and throw all my layers off. In between I tried to breathe through a heavy chest, ceaseless coughing and a burning throat.
You’ve probably guessed I don’t do illness. It’s made me appreciate my health, which has been excellent this year. I just had to get this flu out of the way. Luckily my girls weathered it better.
So I have emerged from my sick bed sounding like I smoke fifty a day, but grateful to be feeling vaguely human again. The house is still a bomb site, the presents still need wrapping, but the most important thing is being able to share love and goodwill with friends and family.
I’m even resigned to the shenanigans of our recent trip to the cinema with the family to see The Last Jedi. I’m not sure the force was with us that day…
I turned around in a car park adjacent to the cinema, dropping the kids off, only to find a vile individual filming us for the purposes of obtaining a parking fine. We were there for a grand total of two minutes. I commented that a little Christmas spirit wouldn’t go amiss, but it fell on deaf ears. She had chosen to work for a company without any moral fibre or human decency.
So I wasn’t surprised when a £100 fine landed on our door mat yesterday morning. I’ll never understand why people want to make a living from pure meanness of spirit.
Despite mounting bills there is much to be thankful for.
I want to extend my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all of you who have either purchased my novel, The Virtuoso, followed my blog, read my posts, liked them and perhaps shared them on social media. It means so much to me that something I have touched on may have proved helpful and worthy of a second thought.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas wherever you are and whoever you are with, and all my good wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.
I am excited and bursting with creative ideas for next year. This year is almost over, and I don’t feel as though I’ve had a chance to catch my breath, let alone achieve anything worthwhile. It has been a roller-coaster, probably with more downs than ups, but in hindsight perhaps a vital stepping stone to greater things.
Have you also found 2017 flew by a trifle fast?
The clock is ticking and I must resume decking my small hall with boughs of holly and the like.
My thoughts drift to Mary, who, over two thousand years ago may have wanted a different birth scenario but who had to put up with her unborn infant being hunted by mad King Herod and making do with a draughty stable full of animals to give birth in.
But she probably didn’t complain about her lot. She had a devoted husband who did his best to support her, and instead she gave us the light of the world and his message of eternal salvation.
My daughter did her class assembly last week, during which I learnt about the Festival of the Radishes in Mexico. ‘Noche de Rabanos’ as it is known, is celebrated by farmers in Oaxaca on Christmas Eve.
Most of my lot don’t eat radishes on the grounds that they find the taste quite disagreeable, but thought carving them into nativity scenes and traditional Mexican symbols an artistic and an unusual way to celebrate the Nativity.
Over the centuries there have been many images in a multitude of mediums from mosaics to altar panels, murals, stained glass, oil paintings, architectural features and sculptures depicting the Nativity, perhaps the greatest story ever told…and now with radishes!
Oaxaca farmers have celebrated an annual ‘Night of the Radishes’ festival for the last century:
I feel it’s fitting to round off with a little Christmas confusion from Joshua Bell and Igudesman & Joo:
From his album Musical Gifts – Greensleeves with Joshua Bell and Chick Corea:
Peace, joy and love be with you…
“I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale