When our Daughter was younger we had a cloth Advent Calendar in the shape of a Christmas Tree, it had a little pocket for each day at the beginning of Advent we would put a little treat, usually chocolate, in each pocket for her to find that day. I used to love the way she would look forward to finding the treat, the build up of excitement as we got closer to the great day itself, and then the total mayhem of Christmas morning. She would come into our bedroom with all the gifts Santa had brought during the night, bouncing on our bed with excitement.
After breakfast we would all go to Church, it was only when we got home afterwards that we would open the gifts from under the tree from each other.
It was my wife's drive for the perfect family Christmas that brought me back to Church and then both of us to faith, in the process without even realising it we actually had the perfect family Christmas. Maybe not the one that John Lewis and the rest of them try to sell us, but it was perfect for our family!
Now my Daughter has grown up, I no longer live with her and my wife, the house is somebody else's, my Mother is in a nursing home and I'm broke. I see a lot of people saying similar things to this, "I've lost my family, my home, my job ~ I can't carry on!" Well the good news is that you can!
I know for a lot of people Christmas is a tough time, especially if you are feeling lonely, abandoned, or desperate. It can be hard to see the way ahead.
The point of Christmas though is that we are never alone, never abandoned, and the way ahead is prepared for us. There have been occasions over the last couple of years when I have experienced all of these negative emotions, but it has been the knowledge of the love of God that has kept me going.
It is the healing power of God at work in me, just as much as the hormones and the attentions of the London GIC that is now making me grow into the person I was made to be. It has not always been easy, but knowing that God is with me has meant that I have not felt like giving up. Well not since I've known Him, I did think about it (and even try once) before then.
I'm sorry if this is a little heavy for you, or if you don't recognise what I'm expressing, so here's a picture of cat in a Christmas tree to cheer us all up a bit!