In December it has to be the celebration of Christ’s birth, and this year we had a very peaceful Christmas day. It started with an early walk in the countryside, watching the sky lighten, and brighten the day, as the sun came peeping through the clouds.
There was no church service – as the churches in our town have not re-opened yet. And although we have got used to online church, I missed joining with others to sing and to worship. Although it does mean you can put all your own favourite carols and songs on a playlist!
We chose not to watch the news, and took a break from social media, just family with good food and conversation. Simpler, and quieter, yes, but counting our blessings on the things that really matter.
In December I have been reading a lot and have had several books ‘on the go.’ I have just finished reading ‘Invited by Matt Berry’ an invitation to explore in a very practical way what it means to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus. My full review is on Goodreads – I would love to connect with a few more friends on there!
I have also read some fiction, which was unusual for me, Imposter by Davis Bunn. This was a classic ‘Who Dunnit’ style mystery. I really enjoyed, trying to work out the reason why the victim had been targeted and of course who had done it! The story kept me guessing right to the end. A real page turner, available on Amazon.
And over Christmas, everyone needs a coffee table book. The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy is just the best! This is a book of rough sketches and simple text but the pictures, and the sentiments expressed in words are charming:
“Nothing beats kindness” said the horse. “It sits quietly beyond all things.”
Anyone who has an affinity with animals will love the characters that have been created here and the observations they make on life, sometimes humorous but often revealing a deeper truth. A book which you can pick up for a few moments and is a real treat – available on Amazon.
My ‘treasured’ for December, and for every month, is the blessing of being able to have animals. I have two Jack Russell terriers, Bob and Rosie, who are both now getting a little elderly. And I also have a semi-retired horse called Mia, who I still ride and have lots of fun with. The downside of animals is of course the winter months! My horse is stabled in the bad weather, so that means mucking out every day – including Christmas morning. And the dogs still enjoy their walks and want to go out, although they now have little coats for when it is cold and wet! They all bring another dimension to life, and a lot of love and affection.
I am taking from 2020 the lesson to hold plans lightly…
“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”Corrie ten Boom
I have always been a ‘planner’ someone who likes to be organised. And I recognised some time ago that I don’t like to have my plans altered. I find it difficult to divert and to adjust quickly to a different plan. From this past year, I hope I have learnt to trust that God has the plan.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”Proverbs 16:9
I actually had my diary open the other morning, looking at the first quarter of 2021 and ‘planning’ ahead with my writing, when the post came. The first letter I opened was a summons for jury service – in the UK it is mandatory. I have been given a date in the first quarter of the year and been notified that it will take at least two weeks, and possibly longer. An immediate and unexpected change to my plans!
Normally I work part-time, close to home, but the jury service will be full time and some distance away. Later in the day, I was checking my emails, and found that where I thought I had an opportunity for writing next year, there now has been a change of plan and it will not go ahead….I had to smile, and say, Lord I get it, I’m trusting in you, one step at a time.
And so I’m moving forward into 2021 with an awareness that there is a lot of uncertainty, and possibly lasting changes ahead, for all of us. But within that, we can find peace of mind, to place our trust in God’s faithfulness, as His love is steadfast and unchanging. I am looking ahead with expectancy to see where God leads!
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