This article will appear in local village newsletters this December.

Christmas starts early these days.  It seems as though no sooner are the fright masks of Halloween put away than the Christmas tinsel is out and trees are fully decorated as we are invited to the launch of this year’s better-than-ever Christmas shopping in garden centres and town streets.  And so we embark on the busy and commercial project that is another Christmas in the UK.

candlesHowever, as December starts this year, take a breath, slow down, and think, what kind of Christmas do you want to celebrate?

I don’t know about you, but I want to celebrate a Christmas where the primary gifts given and received are friendship and family; a Christmas of candles and firelight, because at this time of year they cheer and warm; where we notice and savour the wonders and blessings of life; where we acknowledge our longing for the world to be different – less brokenness, more healing – and consider our small place in bringing that

And where there is room to celebrate the greatest gift of all: that God out of love became human, to demonstrate how far His love for you and me can stretch, that is the gift of Jesus.

Yes, I realise it might be an aspiration too far, amongst the urgency, mess and tasks of ordinary family and working life.  Realistically, in my household, we’ll probably manage some bits and not others.  But that’s OK.  It doesn’t have to be perfect – and a little wonder, joy and hope go a long way.

PS I’ve discovered Ann Voskamp’s blog recently.  It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it.  You might too.