There are 52 days to Christmas - with all that that means for us as Christians as well as all the preparations for a big family get-together.
Ecumenically, we usually use one of the shop windows in the shopping precinct for a large Nativity scene. This year there seem to be a number of difficulties in the way. The window in question has been papered over with brown paper, which will need to be removed (and replaced after Christmas)- involving quite a lot of work! It so happens that the hard-working secretary will be away for several weeks at a crucial time and another stalwart is recovering from an operation, though he himself is making light of whether he will be fit to work on the project. It will be a great shame if we have to break with tradition are unable to mount the usual Nativity scene, so your prayers will be appreciated.
Now for the family get-together! I wonder if you have a similar situation in your family? Ours was a big family to start with, but it keeps on growing and growing!
Not only are all my grandchildren finding soulmates (? future spouses) who want to be included, but more great-grandchildren are being born. Well, at my age, in this recession, I am just about making ends meet each week, so what can I possibly do about buying presnts for each and every one of them?
My daughter-in-law, when I made a quick trip up to Derbyshire this week to meet my new-born great-grandson, came up with a suggestion that I think is worth sharing in case it will help your family too. The idea is that all the names are put into a hat and each member of the family draws one out and buys a present for the person whose name (s)he has drawn. Thus buying only one present - but the children are excepted. Before making the draw, a reasonable price is agreed that each present should cost.
This way, every adult receives a good present and no-one knows who has bought which present for whom - and, best of all, no-one has run themselves into debt by trying to buy more presents than they can afford! That has taken a great weight off my mind and it leaves me to enjoy Christmas as it should be enjoyed, with everybody happy and blessed.
But my immediate task is to send out advertisements of all our Christmas services and other events to the three local newspapers and local radio.
Update: Alas! A message has now been received from the owners of the premises in the shopping precinct that are normally used for the Nativity scene to explain that a change of use behind the window covered in brown paper makes it quite impossible for this window to be used by the churches this year.