Friday, November 19, 2010

Lose the Scrooge

I've been busy writing a Church Magazine letter this morning. I've been spoiled over the last 11 years as my two churches share a bi-monthly mag. But now we are becoming a group of 5 one of the first things we have done is have the same Minister's letter in the 4 mags - and all the others are monthly. So I have been reflecting on the fact that I struggle with the C word at this time of year. Here is most of what I have said. I started by talking about what a moaning minnie I am this time of year and go on to say

But by the time of the Nativity and Carol Services, when the Advent wreath is heavy with light, I am always ready to hear again the stories of shepherds and young girls and angels and strange gifts. And wonder again at the strangest gift of all. That God should choose to become one of us - a living, crying, eating, sleeping, nappy wearing, learning, growing fully human being. And he did that in order to show us just how much he loved us. Its a gift for life - not just for Christmas. A gift that makes no sense at all without knowing about death and resurrection too.

And I wonder as well about what it is that makes other people love Christmas so - the sparkly lights and trees and decorations. I wonder if it is the sense of awe and wonder that we had as children that people want to rediscover in their adult lives. I wonder if it is the delight in seeking out the perfect gift for someone and anticipating the joy of seeing them open it ( and perhaps looking forward to presents themselves!). I wonder if it is that hope that this Christmas will be one of peace and love in the family (even if it has never quite worked out before).

And if I, as a Christian spend the whole pre-Christmas period looking glum about all I have to do and moaning that the decorations go up ever earlier each year - what message am I giving out?

I feel that awe and wonder still at Christmas time - especially on Christmas Eve, both at the Pyjama Service we hold at Upminster and Romford for the children and at the Midnight Communion Service. I feel that delight in receiving the gift of Jesus anew in my heart and remembering just what that means. I have that hope for peace and love - not just in my family but for the world too. And I need to share this part of Christmas with others so that they can feel it too. And at a time when people are ready to hear it - which starts - at least - in November!

So I am challenging myself to loose the Scrooge. To not pull a face when the C word of Christmas is mentioned. And not sigh when others talk about when they are putting up the tree or share that their present buying is all done. I don’t think I’ll ever go on a Tinsel and Turkey break but you never know.

What I am trying to say is that faith IS at the heart of Christmas and that when we meet people where they are and share that extra dimension that we know that we have, we may be able to pass on that special present of God’s grace, the gift that keeps on giving that is faith in Jesus Christ.

I print this here because it is a real challenge that I have to take on. Not just this year - which is slightly different as I did all my Christmas planning in the summer and that actually worked really well - but in the years to come.

However it didn't really start well this year as I avoided it despite Kathy's best efforts to get us to make a Christmas Card for this week's Daring Cardmakers! The dare is "We three" and - having seen someone (can't remember who sorry) using the Cosmo Togetherness Chipboard on cards, I was inspired to do the same.
The papers are all from the Togetherness range. I also used Brushed Corduroy Distress ink; Nestability Dies; Tim Holtz embossing folder; brads from stash; copper tack heads from Imagine That and a cute stamp from Papertrey ink that was just perfect for this card.

In other crafting news. I've been making a lot of birthday date cards recently for folk in Church who have reached special birthdays. Mostly large ones for people to sign but here is one just from me
Iris - who is moving to Aberdeen next week! - is vibrant and always well put together. More like 70 than 90 so I wanted a card that echoed her personality. I hope she like it. Papers are Cosmo Delovely.

And here is a layout
of Carys and I in our matching shoes. We now have the same shoe size which means all the more shoes for me to wear! The papers are all My Minds Eye Alphabet Soup (bought from Imagine That) apart from the white textured one which is Papermania. Letters are American Crafts and everything else I have had a really long time!

Imagine That is 4 this weekend and there are all sorts of celebrations. Why not pop in and join in the fun. Alas I have a busy Church weekend with a table top sale as well as the Sunday service so may not have much time to play there - but I do intend to pop in late ish on Saturday.

This will probably be my last blog post for a while as I have to do far more studying and writing than playing over the next few weeks. I won't be participating in either DCM or Salt until the new year :( Think of me as I try to explain what qualitative research is and the methodology I have chosen.
Happy Christmas!


Sara said...

oh wow, what BEAUTIFUL cards.. I love love love the one with the squirrels! And that scrapbook page is wonderful!!

This Christmas I'm pretty excited, last year I was not so much. My biggest issue is trying to teach my son not to want want want want Christmas gifts and every toy he lays his eyes on... uggh... it's enough to turn me right off of giving gifts at Christmas.

Rika said...

Pretty cards and a beautiful page!

Kathy said...

I think it's the "hope over experience" thing that keeps our expectations of Christmas so high year on year - whether that be hoping for peace, love, the perfect present or perfect harmony. I do love Christmas, but I dislike it being rammed down our throats as soon as the "back to school" things are gone from the shops.
Anyway - I love all the cards you've been making and I'm sure they'll be appreciated.
The DCM card is so sweet - I couldn't have resisted using those things either had they been in my stash.
Great LO, and why is it I don't have those papers in my collection, I wonder?

Lynda said...

Love the shoe shot in the layout and those cards are just beautiful. Hope the studying goes well and enjoy your Christmas too!

Love Lynda xxx

Beth Norman-Roberts said...

Very well said. Thank you for sharing your message. You are so sweet for making cards for church members. Your cards are awesome.

Samm said...

absolutely stunning, you have been busy!!!x

Jules said...

Hi Lythan

Gorgeous makes but also a very good post.

Stops and makes us think doesn't it!

I hope that all is well with you and you are getting somewhere near on top of all that you need to do.

Love Jules xx