Monday 16 December 2013

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree

Finally feel like there's a bit of time and space to start getting Christmassy, having got through a week of being ill followed by a week of catching-up-on-all-the-work-i-missed while being ill!  So far getting Christmassy has actually just meant tidying and cleaning the house and wrapping presents - which might not sound like much to you, but as neither of them are my strong points, I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself!  We've also bought a Christmas tree. It's the first one that I've ever bought for myself (ourselves), having always lived in other people's houses.  And - as I nearly always spend Christmas with parents and sisters, I've always relied on them for the tree and decorations part.  We are going away for a week over Christmas, but have some family coming down for New Year, and... needed somewhere to put the presents... so we bought a tiny one.  And I love it!  It's funny isn't it, how a little tree and some fairy lights can bring so much joy.

It's easy to get cynical about Christmas.  I do think it's way over-commercialized and becomes very materialistic.  Lots of people get into debt unnecessarily.  Waaaay too many supermarket adverts on TV.  But you know what, it's also good to celebrate.  All cultures have their festivals, because I think we all need a break from the norm from time to time.  We need things to look forwards to and a reason to gather, to rest and to appreciate.  A lot of traditions seem a bit random and silly - like mince pies, carol singing, and bringing live, pine-shedding trees into our houses.  So we could just discard them all.  But they also bring us together.  They bind us and remind us.  And they declare something.

Yesterday at the church we went to, the pastor talked about the history of Christmas, and how it became 'blended' with older festivals that celebrated nature, fertility and life.  And as someone who believes in a God that created the earth and joined us on the earth in human form to show us LIFE to the full, I'd say YES!  Let's join in those ancient traditions and celebrate those things.

It might seem really obvious to everyone else, but I'd never thought of the reason for having a tree as being to celebrate LIFE.  And the fairies LIGHT up the room.  And mulled wine smells of MYSTERY.  And (some) decorations spell BEAUTY.

This year has not been easy.  I'm not going to lie.  But it doesn't mean it has to finish on a low note.  There is still so much to be thankful for.  There is an awful lot of good around us. So today I make the decision to lift my head and to live, to really live.  Even as I am still figuring out what that means.  Even as the path ahead doesn't seem to clear right now.  Today I will live, not just survive.  And tomorrow I hope to do the same.

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