It is a late one this year. The children only broke up on Friday. Little Owl has managed to peak at just the right time, that is, collapsing in tears as the school gates closed on the term having worn her Christmas jumper, given out all her carefully scribed Christmas cards and joyfully sung her heart out in her school Christmas production. Finch acted his part as one of the Wise Man with gusto. He turned his gift (an empty washing up liquid bottle wrapped in shiny paper) upside down, and sang into it with his eyes closed. He had obviously missed the memo telling him that the Three Wise Men were travelling seers and not in fact a three-piece boy band. He came home with most of his Christmas dinner around his mouth and in his hair. At the Christmas fair he was chuffed to bits to win a second-hand Red Nose Day mug. After such dizzying heights of ecstasy he spent the last week of term huddled up on the sofa, wheezing away like an old pair of bellows. Wren gave up after the first week in December and has been in a foul mood ever since. Such prolonged levels of anticipation and raised blood sugar levels can only be tolerated for so long.
Yesterday we found a quiet bench under the vast, vaulted ceiling of Exeter cathedral and joined our voices with the congregation who gathered there to sing lunchtime carols. It was wonderful to feel small under those ancient arches, singing words that have been sung by generations before us. In a similar vein, today we escaped to Saltram House to wander in companionable silence through the illuminated gardens. It being only two days after the solstice, and a day of creeping mists, the lights glimmered in magical contrast to the dim stillness of the day. I hummed the last verse of Hark the Herald Angels to myself as we walked back to the car. “Hail the Heaven born Prince of Peace.” I work hard to protect my children’s sense of wonder but this year, it felt like we were all over taken by the frenzied activity of the season. Somewhere along the line peace went out of the window, only to be thankfully snatched back at the last minute in song and strolling.
“Light and life to all he brings, Risen with healing in his wings.”
As I always do at this time of the year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who read my blog, leave comments, send me messages, and support me in my creative (and now caring!) endeavours. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support. A very merry Christmas to you all! May it be a joyful and peaceful one for you and yours.