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I wrote in a recent Post that Christmas has now changed for me, of how I used to love Christmas but now, not so much.

Years ago I used to be one of the leaders in joining in all things festive, and the hysteria that entails (in England for sure); but now I see Christmas as a poignant time of year, where there are so many people who are struggling, and do not feel the ‘festive spirit’.

From early in October the shops are stocking Christmas items, the adverts start to appear on the television, all of them are happy adverts, imply that everyone is happy, should be happy, will somehow be odd if they are not. How can you not be happy at Christmas right? All people are happy, the families are happy, you have to have matching pyjamas, a new dining table and sofa, games consoles, and even Kevin The Carrot from the Aldi supermarket campaign, over which people have been fighting in the car park because the toys were in short supply. How festive!

But now I look at things differently when I watch those ads; I find myself thinking of the people who will get into debt to buy their children presents and I shudder. I know some some people will hate this post but I think it needs to be considered: I think of all the people who are alone at Christmas, like the old man in the advert for ‘Help The Aged’s Ribbon campaign, and I think of the constant ramming of ‘Happy Christmas’ down our throats which just compounds peoples sadness and sorrow. I find it all so insensitive at times.

Then there is the expectation of ‘happy families’ followed by the disappointment and despair when everyone argues, and it doesn’t fulfil the ‘image’ of what people expect. In fact today, listening to the radio, I heard a cleric say how he refers to Christmas as ‘The Season of Disappointment’. I get that.

I said to RD recently that if I lived inEngland now I would spend Christmas providing Christmas dinner to the homeless. I would not fill our fridge with food that would be thrown away in January: the copious amounts of cheese, the trifle, the huge bloody turkey. I would not buy turkey and beef, and pork, all left after boxing day with nobody to eat it. These are lessons I have learned since living here, and these are lessons I am grateful for.

My last post was about now my son turned up here in France completely unexpectedly, even now the thought of the moment of when he walked in our gate and I looked out of the window and saw him standing there still makes my eyes fill with tears. He has gone now, more of that in another post, but that was the best gift I could be given, time, and memories, and knowing he loves me so much he wanted to give me that surprise.

I am blessed, but I say a prayer for those who are alone, exiled from those they love, for whose who have lost loved ones, the people who have nowhere to live, and the list sadly goes on and on. We have been without water, I now respect that commodity because to not be able to even wash your hands in running water is something few of us understand. Trust me when I say a hot shower is a blessing.

We will have a very simple Christmas, and we will be thankful.

So as you celebrate Christmas please say a prayer for those less fortunate, and count all the blessings that you take for granted every day.

I wish you all a mellow, satisfying Christmas.


cathedral in Domfront France