I have been back at work since November 30th – and it has been busy – which is hardly a surprise at this time of year!
Work has presented the usual challenges, but it has been hugely encouraging to find everything ticking along very well (the Christ Church South Nutfield team are fabulous!). It has been good to remain well and in good spirits throughout December. Just recently, I have had an all clear check at the skin clinic on 28th December – which has also been a source of much rejoicing!
Spiritually, there is much about Advent to love, and I find the themes and the sense of anticipation of the Emmanuel, God with us, both uplifting and helpful. I have been really enjoying a daily picture and reflection from Jane Williams in ‘The art of advent’. If you have not tried that this year – I would commend it for Advent 2019.
Christmas at Christ Church had many highlights (too many to detail here). My favourite – which I particularly loved was the Guiding light puppets on Christmas eve – reminding us it was not just all about presents and what the real meaning of Christmas is. (Videos are available of the puppets on Christ Church South Nutfield’s facebook page).
Today Hilary led a thoughtful meditative service looking forward into 2019 – with time and prayer stations to connect more deeply with God. There was a particularly strong reflective reading of the familiar words of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Here is a sample
A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away
Help me to know when to strive and when to accept. Help me to know when to hold on and when to let go.
I have managed to take my renewed creative bent into preparations for Christmas, and made presents for a lot of my friends and family, as I have had more time than usual in the last few months. This has included beaded earrings, hats, coasters (made out of Japanese braiding) and one unique Fluffy the cat calendar!
In between all the work it has been good to participate in 2 family gatherings during this month. One of which was the usual post-Christmas gathering with my siblings, their children and their children’s children!
The second one was a much more unusual affair – a 100th birthday celebration for my late Auntie Peggy (my dad’s sister) – so a gathering of the Ways and Critchleys. Great to catch up, see them and reminisce about Peggy’s character and “joie de vivre”. My cousin Michael had collated lots of lovely pictures of Peggy’s life (and made souvenir photo books for us all). This included the one below I don’t remember ever seeing before of her with my dad on the beach! I also discovered that one of my cousin’s sons and his family live in Outwood (the next village south of here!) – so hoping to catch up with them in the new year.
Overall it is good to be heading out of 2018 in so much better health than I started it. I am looking forward to the joys and the challenges 2019 is bound to bring… May I take this opportunity to wish you a flourishing Spirit-led new year, with more adventures, more laughter and time to rest in the presence of God who loves us.