A tale of two lifes.

I have for a long time loved Christmas.
For a long time it was the best part of the year particularly as a kid and it wasn’t because we got lot’s of gifts because we didn’t as kids. We wanted lots of gifts but we were poor ( I know gets you right there) we were poor but not like the poor in Africa or India or some 3 world place but poor like a lot of other folk. Sometimes poor enough that my Dad stole coal from the gasworks ( it’s like a tale Dickens would tell ). He had to climb a wall about maybe 12 feet high, with a bag of coal, imagine that and bring it hame no wonder he had 3 heart attacks!
It would be a night raid and he would return home covered in coal dust with this big hessian bag of coal, he was like a negative of Santa.

So we were poor and at times a little bit poorer.
So it’s not presents that make Christmas for me.
It’s a little part of it.

It may be Christmas carols and snow and the frost and ice but I’m not sure. I loved it when it was that time at school when you would sing Christmas carols. When teachers became human. In your primary it was about Christmas and all things that related to it. I have a fondness for remembering the many times we made paper chains of multi coloured links which decked the walls of the classroom and simple paper lanterns which we hung with bright coloured wool.

It’s partly that and the remembrance of all that, which helps to makes Christmas for me but so is the remembrance of playing in the snow from when you got up in the morning till going to bed in the evening.
As a kid I loved snow and even when I was older in my 20’s I had a fondness for it too, I have a particularly memory of being round about 20, of me, Ann and my Mum and several members of my family going over to the golf course, which was our back garden, and taking a proper sleigh with us and going up and down the hills, well more down, harder going up and even at that age (teenagers) some members of my family used socks for gloves.

And as we walked we fell about in the heavy snow on the way back and had snowball fights (only stopping when my sisters boyfriend started making them like bricks!). We came home wet, warm, and weary plonked ourselves before the blazing fire, trying to heat fingers and toes that refused to bend.
I like the snow a little less for lots of reason but I love it most when it first falls and the world looks different. The world looks clean, innocent and people are united in there common difficulty of dealing with it.

It’s that too, the snow, as well as the desire as a kid (and adult) to break every frozen puddle I find on my journey and dealing with the heartache of finding someone got there before you.
That feeling of sadness is a special hurt.

These are some of my Christmas chums that make Christmas for me.

But it was also the wonder of anticipation of what my uncle John would leave for you as a Christmas presents. A man who we rarely seen but who always, every year left us something, a catholic who gave religion a good name by the way he lived his life, even when not giving out presents.
A man we hardly knew who had a big heart, thanks uncle John we always looked forward to them and they were always appreciate, we knew we were fortunate.

Christmas for me is built on this kind of foundation. Of school at Christmas time as a place for fun, and the holidays just round the corner, making things, sing carols and playing in the snow.

And waiting for Santa.
Santa for me is still magical.
The commercial world has twisted the Santa message.
But I still have an affection, an attachment to him because of my childhood, he always gave me something at Christmas and sometimes he really surprised me, he certainly left me with plenty of happy memories.
Santa is the generosity of the human sprint personified.
A picture of Santa says a thousand words. About kindness, generosity, Love, especially for the well being of children. A benevolent supernatural being eager to reward good.

Which brings us to Jesus or at least the baby Jesus.
I love the baby Jesus.
I dislike that thing in George sq which is suppose to be the manger because all the figures look… horrible.
It robs it of something.
I love the baby Jesus and the manger. The baby Jesus and the Shepard’s and 3 wise men all that stuff has been with me since the beginning. Drummed into me at catholic school but I never really understood what it meant.

It was just a sad tale of a baby having to be born in a stable. A baby who was special, so special that the heavenly host appeared with an angel praising God for his birth. I never really got it till late on.

I grew up with the magic of Christmas with a late injection of the religious, well it was always there never fully under stood.
Savour, Santa, gifts and good cheer. A mix and a mish mash that makes up Christmas time. My foundations of Christmas are made up of the things of yester year. Things in the past but I’m not saddened by that because I’m adding to that every year.

I no longer play for hours in the snow, occasionally I do still make things, usually not paper chains.
Christmas has changed for me as an adult. I now have more responsibilities and work more than I play (mostly) and although the magic is not there in the same way or same intensity I have replaced it with a fuller understanding of the significance of what God was about, and the desire of many in the world to give graciously, and the bonds of love for family and friends.

All Heaped on top of my memories of paper and glue and being with people, is a deeper love and understanding of being with the family and friends that I have now. People, and most of them attend my Church, people who continue to bring love and laughter into my life now.
People who make Christmas and life special, with their bonds of family-ness and love.

Hey I just wanted to conjure up, evoke some past memories of things done and time spent with others. To give a reminder of what we all mean to each other. And to encourage the building of good new memories. As hard as that may be at times.

And of course there is the God bit. God for us here in Castlemilk Church is a part of everyday life, He’s in Christmas as He’s in our everyday. This, for want of a better expression, worldly, semi religious, happy, magical, miraculous event is an opportunity for us as a family to celebrate, to participate, and to enjoy time together.

The Jews would have many events were they would come together to remember God, at a feast or a festival, to spend time in remembering, but also to spend time with each other.

If Christmas is one thing then it is one thing made up of many parts. The cold, the frost, the tree, the people, the friends, the interactions. The Carol service, the talent night, the tea, the biscuits, the meal, the cards, the gifts, the love and God in every thing and every day.
So have a merry Christmas, God won’t object especially if it brings the family together, promotes love, encourages generosity and benevolence.
Take the opportunity to be part of something lovely in someone else life.

The Cross.

Doggy do do and death.

I was taking a walk through the local cemetery, as you do and breaking my heart at all the sadness, especially the graves of all the young people. Loved one's had placed photographs on the tombstone or beside them. It made it all more tangible.

Anyway, the cold winter afternoon silence was only disturbed with the occasional family member tending a grave. Nice eh? Loving, removing all the dead vegetation replacing them with fresh flowers.

A people carrier pulled up at one grave side the gentleman got out and his large dog. He tended the grave and his dog ran about. It jumped and sprang about with such vigor and energy, a stark contrast to those that lay about locked in the earth below. The dog, as dogs do took a dump while his "master" was engrossed in his loving task. Took a long steaming dump right plonk in the middle just were the head would be. While "master" was showing such care and attention in one area he was allowing, was responsible for the "desecration" of another.

I was really annoyed, angry, how would that poor family feel when they turned up to tend that grave?

Later on I didn't feel so bad, I think the arse who's dog it was should get wise but in all it's just life. We all get shat on at some point, ( sooner or later ) don't we?

It's how you deal with it.

MonSoon it come soon.
A Psalm

With fire and vigour,
with drive and vitality your Love inhabits my world.
I’ve tried with fortitude failed with completeness, to change the unchangeable in me.

Why are you so mindful?

God of all creation, surely there is nothing that is above you,
Surely your Love for me is more than all my failures?

His death and resurrection confirms it.

Hold me in your arms Father, let me feel the closeness
and to feel the warmth through your Holy garments.
Watch over me as I sleep.



Life 'n' A RT

Sometimes a walk in the park can be life.

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