Friday, 24 December 2010
...Time to Dance
The hall is rented, the orchestra engaged, it’s time to dance. No more work for four days, time to relax and enjoy time with the family. It’s Christmas Eve afternoon with a cold snowy landscape in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
I sit writing this with a small dish of mixed peanuts, a cup of tea and a couple of Euro-Millions lottery tickets freshly purchased from the newsagents (who are open Christmas Day from 10 am to 2 pm – the newsagent told me he does a roaring trade in batteries and people topping up!)
I guess Christmas is not too difficult for me these days; my wife doesn’t celebrate Christmas so I only buy gifts for my boys and parents. They know what they want so I don’t have to go hunting. Christmas décor is simple, the meal straightforward, and we’ll play card games and board games on Christmas Day evening and have a giggle - no television. A few drinks and some nibbles in convivial company will help to pass a pleasant day.
Washington Irving, an 18th/19th century American author famous for writing the short stories ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Rip Van Winkle’ once said of Christmas, “Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”
I had an interesting chat with a colleague today in the corridor about a perceptible changing face of Christmas, the cost of it, what it means to people, the difficult times and the influence of their being less money about in the economy now and particularly next year. People donate to charity instead of sending cards for example and we have a generation of schoolchildren who are now more aware of what Christmas is really celebrating.
My thoughts very much are with people whose life is not as straightforward as mine is. It is brought to us in stark reality when friends post on Facebook that relatives and children are not well; then there’s the Homeless (for those who don’t have a real choice) who are struggling with life and the weather, the bereaved both recently and those whose beloved passed at Christmas time, those in abusive relationships, the vulnerable, the lonely and the ill.
Some work on Christmas Day because they have no choice, some volunteers work because they want to and feel the need to – well done to you. Some will still be caring for others as they do every other day of the year - thank you to you.
To all readers of my blog, be you a regular or an itinerant browser, whether you are a Christian or not, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope that this time at Christmas is full of compassion, hope and love and that the forthcoming New Year of 2011 is a safe, successful, happy and a prosperous year for you.