“How was your first Christmas in your new Benefice?” a friend of mine asked when I saw her last week. I thought for a moment before replying. What words could I use to describe the mad, crazy, tiring but lovely, last few weeks......? “Beautifully mental” I told her. “Completely bonkers but I rather liked it!” How else could I describe a ‘job’ that over a period of a week contained the following events?
- 8 men turning up on my drive with a huge Christmas tree strapped to a slightly battered trailer demanding that I bless it and then handing me an axe so that they could take a photograph of me pretending to chop it down. Following which they trooped into The Vicarage, shedding muddy boots en route, to drink mulled wine and eat mince pies - and all before 11.00am!!
- A nativity procession with two live donkeys swathed in fairy lights,
a pub landlord greeting us in his dressing gown telling us there was no room at the Inn and singing carols in the smoking shelter - aka the stable - with baby Jesus dangling less than elegantly from Mary’s lap!!
- Carols, mince pies and mulled wine galore around the newly blessed Christmas tree which was now adorned with lights that, after a period of great trial and error, someone had managed to make twinkle gently as opposed to violently blinding the passing motorists!
- 1 school assembly, 2 crib services, 2 carol services, several home visits, far too many sermons, 1 minor melt-down, my youngest daughter’s birthday, more mince pies, a trip to A & E, 1 Midnight Mass and, probably, a partridge in a pear tree!!!
I confess that I did wake up on Boxing Day looking rather like I had been hit with a sledgehammer but I was jubilant that I had survived and, with that wonderful thing called hindsight, I actually rather enjoyed it all! Bring on Easter!!!
And so some thanks ..... to all of you who helped me through. You know who you are!! The ones who encouraged, soothed, reminded, cajoled, bit their tongues, turned up, generally went the extra mile and most of all, gave me wine! Thank you - I couldn’t
have done it without you!
So now that the Christmas festivities are over, life has returned to normal, the New Year is here and our hastily made resolutions are already behind us, what now? Maybe it’s because I have just returned from a lovely break in the middle of Norfolk with no Wi-Fi, mobile signal or signs of human life, that I have had the time to think, but I am looking forward. The beginning of a new year always makes me do that.
The next season is spring and, with it, the promise of longer days and warmer sun. A time to take stock and to plan. I want to spend more time enjoying each moment. I want to notice things more rather than just rushing past them. I want to worry less, be
more organised, spend more time with my children, talk to God more. I want! Perhaps I would have more chance of achieving the things I desire most if I flipped the order a bit and put ‘talking to God’ at the very beginning!!
So often we rush through life with a mental list of the things we want to achieve and beat ourselves up when our plans don’t pan out in the way we had hoped. Our default mode is to try to do things in our own strength rather than seeking the will and guidance of our God who only wants the very best for each one of us. I wonder what would happen if we had the courage to talk to God first about what it is that we should be doing that would bring us the greatest happiness.
Perhaps I should make just one more new year’s resolution. Talk to God before I do anything. What about you?
With love - Ginni