We're officially halfway through the year and do you know what that means? Christmas is coming. I know it seems crazy to be talking about the festiv...
I don't remember the actual moment when we made the decision to marry but it was because of what we learnt from the loss of two such important people from our lives that we suddenly felt that it was important to us and important that we didn't waste time waiting.
Gaming has always been popular, but this has increased exponentially over the last few years. Whereas gaming was once seen as 'geeky' and 'uncool,' nowadays, geeky IS cool. You can blame the huge rise of comics and 'cosplay' conventions such as Comic Con for contributing to this massive change in perception.
This, I have decided, is the year for change. This is the year that I will have sex more than three times, fall outrageously in love, stop eating chocolate as a pre-bed snack and, obviously, have less than 12% of body fat. However for now whist I decide where to start we best have a celebratory drink, although best make mine a slimline!
If any of these occurrences had been done by a stranger or a random club-goer I would probably have shouted or slapped or let the Irish rage bubbling up inside erupt. Instead I kept quiet and for the most part, laughed it off. So as not to cause unnecessary drama amongst friendships or to maintain a polite-ish persona.
I wish I could keep that Christmas magic alive for the children and not let them feel the same January blues so many of us grown ups feel. Maybe having the presents from Santa to play with will help to prevent that anyway.
The celebration of the last night of the year, Hogmanay, is the most important of Scottish traditions. My father had no recollection of joyful Scottish Christmases in the 1950s, when Scots worked over Christmas per se but he had fond memories of an Aberdeenshire end of year winter solstice feast. It is only within the last generation that Scotland has embraced Christmas.
Our emotional health is just as important as our physical health right? That's why I am making it my New Year's Resolution to take better care of my mental health this year, instead of the past few years of vowing to eat more fruit and vegetables (doing quite well on), regular gym visits (achieved), drinking more water (sometimes), going to the dentist regularly (what dentist?).
We're both doing okay. We have enough stuff, and isn't Christmas a time for giving to those less fortunate? Even if it isn't officially, it feels like it should be. There are so many people who need presents more than I do, or she does.
Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout his short life, Christ's unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another. Although it is not an easy message to follow, we shouldn't be discouraged; rather, it inspires us to try harder: to be thankful for the people who bring love and happiness into our own lives, and to look for ways of spreading that love to others, whenever and wherever we can... There's an old saying that "it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness". There are millions of people lighting candles of hope in our world today. Christmas is a good time to be thankful for them, and for all that brings light to our lives. I wish you a very happy Christmas.
The shepherds went and worshipped. Herod sought to kill. Today's Herods, ISIS and the like around the world in so many faiths, propose false apocalypses. But you and I are called to respond in worship and transforming, world changing obedience, both as individuals, and together, to this revelation of the baby that defines God, for it is our response to Jesus that defines us.
If someone wants to ask the person they love to spend the rest of their life with them on a special day of the year, it would seem good sense (and common decency) to be happy for them.
In the last month my team and I have referred about the same number of people to the foodbank for assistance as we did in the ten months before that... The sheer scale of the operation these days is both astonishing and impressive. The fact that it has to be so big, though, underlines that something is fundamentally wrong with the way Britain operates at the moment.
WE wish you a very merry Christmas and a jolly happy New Year. And I'm letting you in on a little tiny secret, what I'm getting the family. Now, really I thought they have pretty much everything... and then I thought, i know, something radical, something brand new, something no one has ever tried anywhere in the world - equality. Isn't that a wonderful idea? can you just imagine? everybody - men, women, children, everybody! - getting on better and being happier because they've all got equality.
So it's Christmas. It's been a tricky one for me to think about this year from the depths of Calais's refugee camp known as 'The Jungle'. However, a couple of Christmas-related things have been happening which I though I would share, as an insight into Christmas as a refugee.
It's Christmas Eve, and this morning I delivered the last two of three hundred Christmas hampers. I don't work for Harrods, or M&S, or anyone else who might spring to mind when you think about hamper deliveries; I work for Salisbury Foodbank. And each one of these three hundred hampers will go to families and individuals who are struggling to put food on the table this Christmas...