Reflections Blog

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CHRISTMAS IS COMING ! a thought from Revd Ginni

I don’t know about you but it seems to me that the shops begin their preparations for Christmas earlier and earlier each year!  I spotted the first Christmas cards in the shops not long after the children returned to school after the summer holidays and I’ve already lost count of the amount of fully decorated Christmas trees and windows festooned with lights I’ve seen - and as I write it’s not even December yet!!

There seems to be an indecent haste to get to Christmas and I can’t help but feel that so much is missed out on by not taking things a little slower.  For the church of course, before Christmas, comes Advent.  A period of expectation and preparation when we celebrate Christ’s incarnation and look forward to his coming again.  This time of prayer and reflection helps us to refocus on the hope we have as Christians and is a real opportunity to help us regain some balance in our otherwise busy lives.  But it is quite a challenge in the fast paced world we inhabit these days.

I get sucked into the commercial side of Christmas as much as the next person but I’ve decided to try and make some changes this year and see

if I can reach Boxing Day without feeling like Christmas has all come and gone in a blur of manic shopping and frantic baking which leaves me short-tempered and the wrong side of ‘festive’!!!

I thought I’d start with the whole present buying malarkey.  My children are all in their 20’s now, with homes of their own and a regular income and I end up buying them things that they neither need nor expressed any desire to have!  We have agreed, along with a few other family members, to just buy one present for one person.......a Secret Santa.  All our names went into a hat and we’ve all picked out a name and will just buy for that person.  Hopefully we will each receive one nice present and nobody will have spent a fortune on unnecessary things.  However, my children have firmly informed me that Santa simply has to provide his usual stocking for each of them or they will have no new underwear to see them through the year!!!  Oh well, I guess it’s a start!!

I’m also very keen to try to reduce the amount of resources I waste, both at Christmas and throughout the rest of the year, so I’m going for the brown paper and string method of wrapping presents rather than buying new wrapping paper - although I fear that my attempts won’t quite match the chic ones I’ve seen online!!

These are just a couple of changes that I hope will lead to others as I journey through Advent towards Christmas.  If nothing else, I’m hoping that by questioning what I am doing and why, I may be more intentional in my preparations for Christmas and less caught up in the commercialism.

Above all, I pray that despite my busyness and preoccupation that I may remember afresh God’s Advent invitation, to be patient, to prepare and take stock and to anticipate, with growing excitement, the joy that is promised through the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ on Christmas Day.

Whatever your plans, I pray that it will be so for you too.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a joyful New Year.

With love Ginni

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FURTHER ADVENTURES WITH MY MUM ! A thought from Revd Ginni.


I can’t believe how fast this year has gone!  It seems only a short while ago I was talking about my holidays and now we are almost in November ......and the ‘C’ word, which I am forbidden to mention before 

1st December, is fast approaching!!  

It was good to have the chance to catch up with many of you over the summer months at various fêtes and events and I was amused to learn that my escapades with my mother seem to have caught your attention.  I have been asked several times when the next instalment is coming, and so, bowing to popular demand, here it is.....

My mum had been struggling to live well where she was in Enfield and whilst she enjoyed her stays every 5 weeks or so at The Vicarage, it was only for a few days at a time because she had to sleep in a chair in my office (she can’t do stairs) and anyone who has ever been into my office will appreciate that it’s more ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’ than Travelodge!!  

She decided that she would have a couple of weeks respite care in assisted living accommodation in Stevenage....and she loved it.  So much so in fact that she announced, just two weeks prior to my fortnight’s holiday, that she was going to move into a flat there......immediately!!!  Now your first reaction might be ‘wow, brave decision, go for it!’  Except......the said flat was carpets, dodgy paint job, etc., etc.......and guess who was tasked with sorting it?!!  That would be me then!!

My daughters took up the challenge of painting the flat….‘no problem’ they said, despite having never picked up a paint brush since leaving primary school, ‘we’ll pop over Saturday and do it’.  Oh how I laughed!  Let’s just say that it was one of life’s learning curves for them both and they have acquired a new appreciation for their mother’s decorating skills!  To be fair, they did a very good job but it took a ‘little’ longer than they expected and neither of them has any desire to meet with a paint brush again!


I got the flat carpeted, coerced friends to collect my mum’s furniture, put up curtain rails, suffered several visits to Dunelm to both collect AND return items, and spent hours assembling flat-packed furniture (it was a CRUEL person who designed those!!) and did my best to smile sweetly and encouragingly as my mum offered ‘suggestions’!!  Oh and did I mention that I also worked, walked the dog, etc., etc.!!  

The evening of my holiday came and we had done it, she was in!!  We pulled up outside with my new car stuffed to the roof with the last of her belongings when she looked at me and said ‘phew, I’m exhausted, how on earth are we going to unload all this?’!!!  Given that there were only two of us in the car and one uses a mobility scooter, it took all my willpower to resist the urge to state the obvious - rudely!!!

Fortunately, my holiday restored my sanity and sense of humour although my darling mum continues to test both on a regular basis!  We are now settling into a new way of life with her living so much closer and I’m very proud of her for having the courage to make such a big change at her time of life.  It will take some getting used to for both of us and I have already noticed that I have a tendency to revert to ‘petulant child’ in her presence but I am working on improving that!!

So there you have it!  I’m sure we will have more adventures in the months to come but right now, I’m rather hoping for a bit of respite myself!!

With love Ginni

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