So…are you all ready for Christmas yet?!
If you’re anything like me, the answer to that question is A. “No!” and B. Ask that again and I will kill you. Slowly”. The last time I remember a non-stressful Christmas, I think i was about 9. Don’t get me wrong, I love it wen I get there, but the preparation is – trying.
It used to be the music. I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to sing in some truly awesome (and truly awful) choirs in my time, and i wouldn’t have given that up for the world, but it does have the interesting side effect which means that you tend to be practicing Christmas music around August. There are only so many times a girl can sing Rutter’s greatest hits without losing the will to live. Although whether that was better or worse than the year we were singing extracts from the Messiah with a choir of 7, is another matter. “WONDERFUL! COUNSELLOR!”. It haunts me still…
For the first time in a while, I’m not actually doing anything musical this year. Which is a bit of a blessing, since I am ill. Not the interesting kind of ill, where you get to stay wrapped up and have people waiyting on you, but the annoying kind of ill where you still have to do everything, just with a cough that makes you sound like a bronchial hippo and a brain so fuzzy that you find yourself wandering the supermarket trying to work out exactly what the hell you came in for in the first place (tealights and bin-bags, it turned out!) Added to that the delights of Brownie parties and events, church things (what the hell inspired me to volunteer to deal with live animals on Christmas Eve, I shall never know) and a project deadline passing me by with a whooshing sound that puts most hurricanes to shame, and i’ve got to be honest, I’m just not feeling it this year.
I love the way Isaac gets stuff so much quicker than I do sometimes. I mean, he’s two and a half, spends a lot of time spinning in circles, and thinks Iggle Piggle is a real person – but – he gets it. At the bottom of our road is a wonderful place called the Seaview Centre – you can find more about it here – http://www.seaviewproject.co.uk/help-and-inspiration-for-people-living-on-societys-margins. It’s a day centre for those living on the very margins of our society – the homeless, addicts – all those the rest of society looks down on. We pass the centre pretty much every day, and invariably there are a few of the guys outside having a chat or a cigerette. The other day, Isaac asked me about it.
Isaac – “why people outside? It cold!”
Me – “they’re having a chat and a cigerette”
Isaac (thinking deeply) – “but, why not inside? In they homes? It cold!”
Me – “lots of them don’t have a home, darling. They come here to have some food and for people to look afer them”.
Here’s the point where I cried. To really get the full impact of this, you have to understand Isaac. If there is one thing he loathes more than anything else, it’s the wind. He’s got crazy sensitive hearing, so as well as it making him cold, he simply can’t cope with the noise of the wind. He’d rather do anything else than go out in it. We’ve mitigated this by the judicious use of big hats, which totally cover his ears. He and his hat are bonded. Try to remove that thing, and your life is at risk. So here’s the bit that stunned me.
Isaac thought hard. Then he reached up and took his hat off. He gave it to me, and said “give them hat! Keep ears warm!”
I cried like a baby (he thought I was mad!) See, Isaac’s tiny, and nuts – but he just gets it, you know? It’s not about whether the turkey is cooked, or the Brownies Christmas party goes well, or whether I resist the urge to throw John Rutter across the room. It’s just not. At the end of the day, Christmas is all about what Isaac showed that day – pure, unadulterated love. Not because of what you can get out of it – after all, God definitely got the crap end of the bargain with us – but simply for the sake of love. That’s what it’s all about. And because He first loved us, we can be free to love others. It’s mind blowing.