A Time of Reflection

I had mixed feelings about Christmas this year, over the last few years I have enjoyed the preparations of Christmas more than the day itself and sometimes find the day can be overwhelming and I am never quite where I want to be and it can be tough as an escort suddenly being faced with relatives and friends you haven’t seen all year in one sitting as it really isn’t the time of year you want to be faced talking about your work or love life!

Anyway, this year I reluctantly took an offer of going with some family and friends who all have very young children to see a Christmas pantomime and was thinking that I would find it painful to sit through with kids wearing flashing hair bands and waving wands every second and the fear of being pulled up on stage to be made a fool of and of course the obligatory “it’s behind you” and “oh no you don’t” carry on.

On arriving at the theater (one of my favorites in the country) there was the bustle of excitement and very glitzy looking set and sparkly lights everywhere. In a word “magical“. The children were wide eyed with excitement and one of the kids was so mesmerized by the surroundings he just sat quietly taking it all in and the show hadn’t even begun. My attempts of passing them all a tube of smarties each was accepted graciously but these children weren’t here for the smarties — they were here for the magic that was about to begin any second.

reflections

I watched the performance through those children’s eyes and I have to admit it, I loved it! I laughed, joined in where appropriate, clapped and sang along and the biggest pleasure of all was seeing every child with us totally spell bound and amazed at it all. The energy of the performers was incredible and as we all stood to give a standing ovation at the end my friend’s daughter turned and said to me “I want to stay here forever and never leave, that was such fun”. Her brother was still speechless and his face priceless.

So, it got me thinking that maybe we can sometimes loose sight in the true pleasure and meaning of Christmas with family and friends. We get to experience magical moments with the younger members of our clan and also it’s a time of celebrating life and what we do have and not what we have lost or been pained by. Without being too religious over it (sorry but I was raised as a catholic!) the true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of the Son of God and to thank him for is infinite love and mercy. Religiously minded or not the message is clear. Thank your lucky stars for life and the people in it who strive to make it a happy one. Easy too loose sight of sometimes!

So, in keeping with some Christmas tradition and having returned from the panto unscathed the next thing the following day was a midnight mass by candle light and it was very memorable and beautiful to watch. People come from far and wide to take part in this and again, the sense of everyone coming together (pardon the pun) and taking time out to reflect was heart warming. One member of the congregation even brought her dog who was welcomed too in his festive jumper! Quite a sight and slightly surreal!

The only part of Christmas left was the day itself which turned out to be a lot of fun with plenty of laughter (you got to love those naff jokes in the cracker and one too many sherries from the older members!)

I don’t think there is any other day where you can quite pull of wearing a Christmas jumper and singing “jingle bells” with the use of a tambourine and wooden stick as accompaniment to your friends 18 month baby without looking like a total idiot. Actually, I will let you reserve judgment on that but you kind of had to be there, possibly with your fingers in your ears but hey, he found it funny!

It’s been a lovely few days of escapism and just what the doctor ordered but it was certainly nice coming home and putting the lights on the tree on and lighting some candles for a cozy night in of peace and relaxation after the chaos of travel, kids, pets and nutty relatives!

My abiding memory of this Christmas will be of when I walked around to my childhood friend’s house on the eve of Christmas day to see families in houses up and down the street through the window (the curtains were open and I am a bit nosy!) sitting round the dinning table with their nearest and dearest eating and drinking away and pulling crackers and generally having a festive time together.

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