Christmas at home

This is the first ever year that we are celebrating Christmas in our own home. For the past seven years of marriage we have always travelled to family for the Christmas holidays and so have never bothered to decorate our home as it seemed pointless to spend money on things when we wouldn’t even be using them over the main Christmas period. However, now that Josh is ordained and will be working over Christmas every year we are embracing Christmas at home and all that it brings!

Josh isn’t officially on holiday until the 28th so we are grateful that his family are able to make the long journey to spend Christmas with us here – it would have felt very strange to have Christmas without any of our extended family around us!

To be honest, I struggle with Christmas a bit. It seems so all consuming and huge, with so much pressure to have the ‘perfect day’. Like a wedding, there is so much build up, planning and expense just for a few days and then it’s over so quickly.

As Christians we often use the mantra ‘keep Christ in Christmas’ or ‘don’t forget the real meaning of Christmas’, but sometimes it seems impossible to keep my mind on celebrating Jesus when I’m getting caught up in Christmas presents, travelling and food. I am a planner by nature and so it’s really hard for me to step away from thinking about what I will buy or cook if it’s still on my to-do list!

For this reason I have purposely tried to keep things simple this year. While I have relished having a tree and a house to decorate just how I want we haven’t gone overboard with expensive decorations. I also got the majority of our presents bought and wrapped early and my Christmas to-do lists written and ready a couple of weeks ago.
This has allowed me to stop obsessing about the details of Christmas so far ahead of the actual day and try and focus on the fact that the real meaning of Christmas isn’t about these things at all.

Yesterday, as I tried to stem a rising wave of panic standing in the middle of Tesco doing our Christmas food shop a frail old man stopped us to wish us Happy Christmas and to give Ivy some money for her piggy bank. It was such a sweet thing to do and I am so glad that my lasting memory of our first ever food shop won't be of the stress and busyness of buying 'stuff' but of the kindness and goodness of people.

I pray that this Christmas will be simple and full of joy. I pray that we can focus not on the gifts or the extravagance but that we can remember with gladness the wonderful gift we have in Jesus, that he is our friend and our King and that we can have a wonderfully close relationship with God. I pray that we will celebrate generosity, kindness and family and that we can create many wonderful memories to last a lifetime.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

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