With Christmas approaching I decided to decorate my mother’s little sitting-room with a theme close to her heart. Her main concern these days is to make sure that the wildlife in our garden doesn’t go hungry, so she keeps the bird-feeders well supplied with nuts and seeds and then sits back and watches the birds and squirrels as they come to claim the food. It gives her endless pleasure just looking at them busily eating with so much enthusiasm!
So the decoration in her room this Christmas is a theme of squirrels and birds among the normal Christmas glitter.
Christmas is a good time for Mum. She may not be able to remember what happened yesterday, but she can recall with great clarity bygone Christmases that were celebrated in the sun in Africa. She recollects with nostalgia how my father would erect a long trestle table in the shade in their garden, which would subsequently be covered in a festive cloth and loaded with cold meats and salad, fruit and chocolate. The whole family would sit around the table on a variety of chairs and stools, and laughter would mingle with the bird song coming from the trees. Now my father has passed away, the family is scattered in six different countries on three different continents, and it’s unlikely that they will all come together again. But the memories are precious and special – and so far they haven’t been snatched away by her dementia.
Toto is also looking forward to Christmas. She knows as soon as the decorations come out that the festive season is upon us – and it’s a good season for dogs as inevitably there are more goodies about and many fall from the rich man’s table into their jaws! She also knows that she gets gifts, packets of treats, a new ball and a toy or two, so when we come home from shopping she takes a lot of interest in the shopping-bags, rather like a child trying to get a peek of their presents before Christmas!
So we are now well into the festive season and already there are parties to attend, gifts to buy and memories to dwell upon. Much has been written about the Christmas season – both good and bad. Christian and secular values are often very different at this time of the year, but in a way that only humans can, they have somehow managed to mesh them together so that everyone gets a bit of what they want!
Christmas is a Christian festival, but although there are other festivals mentioned in the Bible Christmas is not one of them. However, as we rush around with thoughts of what gifts we might buy for family and friends it is a good time to reflect on what a wonderful gift Jesus is to the world as we look ahead to the most important of all Christian festivals – Easter.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting father, Prince of Peace.