500 Santas running through chilly rain, across a squally beach, to the backdrop on a grey sky. All on an icy east coast with a bitter arctic wind whipping off the sea; I’ve done more pleasurable things on a Sunday morning. Where would I rather be? Warmly wrapped in my quilt. Reading a book. Having a cup of tea?
Well no actually! Am I mad? Probably! And I’m not going to guilt trip everyone and come across all holier than thou, due to my dedication to the cause, my students and mostly my family, instead I’m going to explain my epiphany.
This week I’ve been Christmas shopping (again), ordered my meat and veg, written more lists, delivered Christmas invites, organised stuff, been to carol concert number one, put up a rather impressive tree (so impressive that my American family have commented how good it is – praise indeed), Him has put up outdoor lights, put up outdoor tree and foliage (I know posh), and ran a soggy Santa dash along a rather dramatic crashing wave beach. I’m bloody exhausted! However, content I most wonderfully am.
But guess what? Here’s the negative – I’ve still not really bought my children any presents. Now normally I’d been waking up having panic attacks and palpitations in the middle of the night. I’m not though. Not s flicker, not a slightly raised pulse, in fact I’d call it that I am unusually calm…
So Wednesday morning carol concert…When in the beautiful church we were married in, where all our wonderful children were baptised in, and where we’ve spent the last 16 years bringing Christmas day in, I had a revelation. You see, I do like a story, so the Reverend’s Message is always a high point of the service for me (This is something I extend to my daily listening, I often set my alarm to listen to Radio Two’s Thought for the Day. Also, don’t tell anyone but one of my children enjoys it too). Anyway, the message on Wednesday was all about a dog (winner), children and a family at Christmas. The message was about ‘love’ being the most important thing (Well, I’m sure we all agree that we don’t need to be told this). But, what I think we always need reminding of, is not losing sight of what we have.
If we are lucky enough to be loved and have love – in whatever guise, I believe are lives are the richer for it. However, the merry-go-round of modern life drags us down, makes us mardy (sorry), and can weigh down so heavily we forget why we are doing what we are doing. Now, due to house, friends and dinner prep, I’ve had no time to shop for my children. Are they damaged by my neglect? No, not at all. In fact, in all the activity over the past few days, they are positively glowing. They are looking forward to our party, our Christmas Eve plans, Christmas dinner – and arguing over what they are doing (no one wants leaving out), excited tor a million other things…but have they mentioned presents? Barely. Yes, they might have discussed this or that but it’s no way the main topic of conversation. If truth be told, they’ve actually no idea what they really want. And this makes me proud. Not only am I proud of the way they are behaving, I’m also proud of the way they did the fun run in the horrendous winter weather this morning. My proudness continues when I remember that they have offered to help cook the charity dinner for 25 people. Upshot is my love for them in boundless and enriched by the way they show compassion and love for others.
Yes, love is all you need.
So, what do I want for Christmas? Nothing, as how can anything be as fulfilling and beautiful as the love I have for my family?
And I’m sure, if you all look at your micro world. If you consider what you have, you will feel enough love and happiness to get you through the shite stuff. Pinch yourself, it’s true. And if you haven’t? Go out and grab the beauty of life and you too shall find love. We all deserve it, we just have to know where to look.
Happy loving Christmas!
PS. I’d quite like some new trainers, perfume and pyjamas, if anyone wants to know.