Today is the first Sunday in Advent, and so the first candle was lit. Please note, that arrangement was done in 5 minutes when I realised I had not got it ready for the co-ordinated lighting ceremony with my sister! (And the candles are really standing straight, not leaning at an odd angle.)
This has been a busy weekend. Yesterday, Mum and I did a whirlwind zap around the shops to get some vital essentials. Like presents for the friends from Scotland, who were visiting in the afternoon. That was after I made 2 visits to the post office to finally send off my daughter's parcels to NZ. Yes, Diana, they have gone by air, and not via the slow boat!
And after an afternoon with my friends, and the babes and Jackie, I was out at a party last night. The social whirl has begun, it seems. Lovely! And today, we went to the most beautiful service at a church in a neighbouring town, for the baptism of a young friend. I had never been to a full immersion baptism before, and it was so moving, and such a joy to share with our friends. And then we gathered at their home for a shared lunch as well. Beautiful day. The weather has been foul, but the day just perfect.
I am no nearer getting my decorations out and up and sorted, but there is no rush. And after a Saturday morning at the shops, looking at the manic frenzy, I am less inclined than ever to get involved in a spending spiral with money I do not have. It is not about money after all. It is about time and priorities and the meaning of Christmas. Or rather, the meaning of Christmas, and adjusting your time to take care of the priorities. My priorities are my family and my friends, and they do not have a monetry value. They are more precious than gold.
I don't want to be out amidst the jostling crowds. I want to be in my home, making beautiful things, and enjoying the company of the people who matter to me. I don't need presents. I love giving gifts. And I especially love the idea of giving time as a gift. I mean...... what do you remember most? The gift bought or the time someone spent with you?
I don't think back to Christmasses past remembering the stunning gift or the amazing present. I think back to the time when Auntie Myra started singing carols on Christmas night and we all joined in. To the time my oven broke while I had 20+ people sitting waiting for the turkey to be served. To Dad and Geoff monopolising Andrew's remote control boat. To Marge , Geoff and I constructing the playpeople circus on Christmas eve. To friends popping round for mince pies and sherry every Christmas Eve. To the children taking their favourite toys to the morning service on Christmas Day. To breakfast at Granny's after church on Christmas morning. To freezing while singing carols in the village square on Christmas Eve. To the magic of seeing the lit tree on Christmas morning , as a child. To the faces of my children on Christmas morning. To the times when Geoff was actually home for Christmas. So many special times.
It is the people I remember. The events. The memories are alive.
And the presents? I can't remember them.