Although I always look forward to Christmas, there was something very special about it this year. Usually we celebrate Jesus' birthday in the company of friends, but this time we kept our rejoicings just to the four of us. This is the third time, since we married 26 - 26!! - years ago, that we have done so. The first time seemed wrong - selfish. It just happened that we spent it on our own that year, but we could probably have done something more sociable. The second time was when we were almost 'on holiday' - Richard had moved to Guernsey just a couple of months earlier and we had come over for the Christmas holidays. We barely knew anyone on the island, so made Christmas happen in the tiny flat he was renting.
This year, with J and C working away from home, it felt right for the four of us to spend the time together on our own. And our time has been full of blessing.
The blessing of being together again: J home on 22nd December, C on 23rd, both braving the near Arctic conditions in the UK.
The blessing of a cycle ride together on Christmas morning, sun on our faces, wind in our hair, the sea sparkling beside us.
The blessing of a familiar walk.
The blessing of time to relax.
The blessing of candles, Christmas lights, a log fire.
The blessing of games played or films watched - together.
The blessing of a special meal shared.
The blessing of empty cupboards, as mugs and glasses are used up and scattered around the house before they are retrieved for washing up.
The blessing of thoughtfulness, of gifts carefully chosen, of help offered.
Blessing upon blessing.