Thursday, 29 December 2016
Saturday, 24 December 2016
Sunday, 18 December 2016
"And she gave birth to her firstborn son and
wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger"
We know this verse so well as part of the Nativity narrative, but have you ever given a thought as to what "swaddling clothes" (or 'swaddling bands') actually are?
A quick search of the internet shows that 'swaddling a child' is an ancient and modern practise. When my first born child was born in 1971 the midwife wrapped her tightly in a blanket immediately after birth..."to mimic the close space of the womb". That we understand...but what about the bands themselves?
In Mary's day a Jewish woman prepared for the birth of her child by making a set of swaddling bands. Strips of fine wool, lovingly embroidered, ready to receive the precious gift.
Do you remember the security blankets your children and grandchildren carried around with them and wrapped themselves in at bed time.
How many of us curl up under a favourite blanket when in need of comfort.
And how good it is to snuggle under a blanket (or duvet!) on a chilly night
Luke thought that swaddling clothes were important enough to include in his Nativity narrative.
God's gift of His son Jesus to grow and live on earth, and finally to die for us on the cross was God's way of wrapping His arms around us and saying..
"I love you"
Wrap yourself in a blanket today
Thursday, 15 December 2016
Once a week I join my daughter as she takes the dogs on their mid morning walk.
At this time of year when the vegetation has either been cut down or naturally died down we like to walk right round the lake in a nearby nature reserve.
That way we get a better chance of seeing the over wintering inhabitants.
In a previous post I had you counting the number of Cormorants who had arrived for the winter.
This time we disturbed a lonely 'Little Egret' as we walked past where he was sitting. Usually there are three or four of them but this is the first we have seen.
For some reason the Heron was perched up in a tree...centre of photo.
Then we saw why...there was another Heron sitting in his usual spot on the bank, ...or perhaps this one is the new comer?
We rounded the corner where the path runs alongside the River Freshney.
One of the dogs just loves water and tends to jump in and out of the river.
This time she jumped out with this rather large Crab in her mouth!!!
Dead one and rather smelly..goodness knows where it had come from. A Crab who lives in sea water would not normally be found in a freshwater river.
Perhaps a Seagull had grabbed it and found it too heavy to carry...or it was someones dinner that they decided to toss.
Who knows....it gave us a good laugh anyway.
The dog wanted to carry it home, which my daughter was not too keen on, so we reluctantly left it behind!
Thought I would share with you what I have done to my cupboard door.
Didn't tell Husband , it took him three days to notice....
The hole in the middle of the door is for the cat...this is the cupboard under the stairs where she hides when there is any loud noise or fireworks.
It is her safe place (the door is normally shut)
So it just remains for me to say Christmas Blessings to all my lovely readers
......share this calligraphy message that my Father made in 1961 and has been put up at Christmas every years since, I have been it's keeper since 1994
Tuesday, 6 December 2016
It has been a year of funerals....
It started in late February with the sudden death of one of my extended family members...
....followed two weeks later by the death of his wife.
They were both over eighty but in good health.
And so it has continued through the year...
The sudden death of a friend one year younger than I am.
Then the death of two friends from church, one expected the other so very sudden.
She was buzzing around serving coffee after church on the Sunday then going to bed on the Thursday said to her husband that she didn't feel very well and minutes later was dead.
Then two weeks ago we had the sudden death of our young neighbour.
His death resounded far and wide as he was something of a star
On the same day a friends husband also died, peacefully at home after a long illness.
And now on the run up to Christmas the last two over eighty members of my extended family are terminally ill and will not live very long.
OK, you will say; why am I telling you this?
Because out of all these deaths, only two were Christians and their deaths and funerals were celebrations of joy and hope and thanksgiving.
I confess as a christian I struggle with knowing what to say to comfort relatives of non Christians when there is no hope, when they all see death as final.
For non Christians death is the end.
For the two who are facing death and especially their nearest and dearest, they are in a state of denial. There are numerous conversations about what they will do when they get better and so on.
Perhaps it is just me, but death is something that you have to prepare for before it is too late.
There are things to be said, people to see not this continual ignoring of it.
This is hard on the rest of the family.
The Grandson of one of the people in final stages of cancer wants to spend time with his Grandmother, to talk about her life and her coming death, just to share time with her...
....but his Mother continues to deny him, and his siblings this opportunity because "there is nothing wrong", "she isn't that ill"
Dying remains a great taboo here in UK. Something that is discussed in hushed tones and never ever fully acknowledged in public, even among some Christians.
People will discuss their sex lives quite openly to all and sundry but when it comes to the end of life it rarely gets a mention.
My Father discussed his dying and death two years before it happened, and he had planned his own funeral celebration. My Mother was also comfortable with talking about it.
Uhm...am sorry, this post is rather rambling and I don't seem to have expressed myself very well at all. But I hope you get the idea of what am trying to say.
It has just been a hard year with so many losses , so many funerals and more to come.