Do Nothing Christmas is Coming

 

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Today is Stir Up Sunday.  Traditionally the day when Christmas puddings and cakes are baked, wishes made as wooden spoons stir the thick mixtures and the annual hunt for the silver sixpence leads to the other interpretation of Stir Up – the first of the frustration induced Christmas rows.  As we frantically try to prepare for the “perfect” Christmas and at the same time incorporate financial limitations, the arrival of disparate members of the family and change the sheets on the spare bed the hairs on our camel’s backs get heavier and heavier.

As you may have seen from an earlier post I am taking part in #ShareAdvent.  A comment on that post suggested it was a twee middle class list, which perhaps it is.  But perhaps I am twee and middle class, I have never pretended to be something I am not, for a start it’s too much effort and I have never been good at pretence (another good reason for not taking up my first career option of spy).

However, I also have another Advent tradition which I have been doing for two years now (I know because the bookmark is the reciept for the book itself purchased at Durham Cathedral on 24th November 2010).  I read Do Nothing Christmas is Coming – An Advent Calendar with a Difference by Stephen Cottrell.  Stephen is Bishop of Chelmsford and has written a number of excellent books, but this little pocket is my annual favourite.

Each day is a short reading with suggestions for reflection, how to slow down, and to genuinely prepare for Christmas rather than just for a holiday.  I set aside time each morning to write morning pages, read New Daylight and Simple Abundance, to pray, to just be quiet.  In December I add this little book,  why don’t you join me?  I’d love to hear how you get on, what you think, whether it helped.

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10 responses to “Do Nothing Christmas is Coming

  1. Sounds good to me. We don’t do Christmas and every year I am further amazed by the lengths to which people go to make it “perfect” – it can’t be. And they bankrupt themselves in the process. The whole thing is crazy.

  2. I dread Christmas because it’s just my (very elderly and rather frail) pa and me. He lives a way away and I trundle down the M5, trying to find or engender happy thoughts and with some foody treats up my sleeve which pa doesn’t eat. I do Christmas lunch – miniature turkey (poussin) plus a tiny Christmas pudding – but really it’s just Sunday lunch on a different day. No Christmas tree, the cards don’t get put up, a present for Daddy wrapped up and then he asks where HIS present to ME is (if he asked one of his carers to buy me a packet of wine gums from the petrol station I’d be the happiest person on earth!)…it’s all just dreadfully sad. And I end up in tears, snivelling in the kitchen.

    I still love things like the Carol Service (always faintly eccentric with things going wrong: last year Baby Jesus went missing pre dressing the crib, with me muttering “he was here a minute ago”) in the little church at home, but I find the actual day difficult. It has become a holiday day for families to the the point that the roots of the occasion have become diluted or the edges blurred.

    I’m not Bah Humbug about Christmas and people having a jolly time, nor do I want sympathy. it’s just one of those things.

  3. It’s not just Christmas, I think it’s the how do I cope with elderly parents who are alone and I have a whole load of guilt that means I must be with them. My parents are mutipally (sp?) divorced and remarried and I have several parents and step parents over the world. Once it was quite exciting, now it is rather scary, I am an only child and suddenly I am close to being responsible for people all over the world who don’t talk to each other.

    Are there any other elderlies and their children? Could you join forces and have a joint Christmas. Radical I know, but I bet if there are others out there like you they would love to get together, it’s not about family it’s about sharing and fun and being silly and what better than a whole load of people who hardly know each other coming together because they think it might be more fun.
    love gillie x

  4. Well, as it happens I drove to my mothers´ last year ( figured the ol´ gal didn´t have to spend it alone since she divorced during summer ) after a few years and it was AAAWWWFUL! This year I am enjoying the good company of my son and we´ll have a nice, leisurely and beautiful Yule- time. Naturally, there is every flipping year these elders that are all too happy to go with the blame fest. Past years ago I made the mistake of trying to include every parent, granny, stepparents and a random old fogie to just a few days. They all live hours of driving apart, they all take part in the tugging war of who gets to claim ownership of your presence and there always will be others who blame you for not coming, for leaving too soon etc. It´s a losing game no matter what. So I´ve learned that the best way to preserve one´s sanity is to tell the entire merry posse that yes, there´ll be visitations done. When we have appropriate time. Then we´ll have time to spend nicely time together and there´ll be no rush to place #567 that day / those days. Besides, this way I also get to keep my sanity. Priceless!

  5. Oh, and our tree is already up ( actually two if you count the small tabletree in the kitchen ) and it´s purdy. Our preparations are fairly planned and I really don´t expect any rush about anything. I bake and cook our favorites and shop and make presents beforehand. I have a few larger parties to give during December and all are planned out already. It´ll all be good.

  6. “Do Nothing Christmas Is Coming” reminds me of the verse “Be still and know that I am God.” May we know and share that during this Advent season. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/improbable-advent-prepare-ye-the-way/

  7. What a lovely link thank you.

  8. Hi Gillian, ummm, was worried you might be twiddling your thumbs so have tagged you in The Next Big Thing… http://jackiebuxton.blogspot.com. Hey! Who needs a Christmas card anyway…?!? Seriously, if you can fit it in, that would be great. If not, I’ll forgive you, in time.

  9. Another book to add to my reading list for the Advent season! Thank you for the recommendation; I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

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