Thursday 25th. December, 2014 – A very Happy Christmas 


The Christmas Candles burning in Gavinton Church this morning -- the four red candles of Advent around the single white candle of Christmas


Today was immense! It was a wonderful, spectacular, glorious day.

I suppose I start by reporting that late on the evening of Christmas Eve Rachel and I went along to the watch-night service at Gavinton and sang the usual carols which make Christmas so special. Following the service we were invited into Bill and Isobel’s home, right next door to the church, and there we shared in a huge repast. It was lovely and the company was great.

By the time we got back to Mount Pleasant it was nearer two than one, and so we walked the dogs and went to bed -- waking early on Christmas morning with dogs to walk before we returned to church for the Christmas Day service. I enjoyed this service very much. We had been joined by Mum and Jeffrey and afterwards we drove gently back to Mount Pleasant ready for the celebrations to begin.

Christmas Day always seemed to rush by so quickly. This year it took its time and was the better for that. We opened presents, and were joined by David with whom we made our way across to the farmhouse where we all seemed to open more presents. At 2.30 we met up in the Granary for a refreshment before watching the Queen (in preparation for which there was an argument between the assembled royalists and republicans about what we were about to watch). I enjoyed the Queen’s choice of message on the theme of reconciliation and in which she spoke of her own faith.

We made our way to the farmhouse were we dined in style, all eating far more than was good for us but tempted by so many of our favourites. I took a bit of time out to write a wee thought for the Berwickshire News (I’ll send it off tomorrow) and afterwards those who were still standing (David had gone off home and Digger and Devon were nowhere to be seen) watched Downton Abbey. I was profoundly glad that Mr. and Mrs Mates ended the programme with neither of them in the pokey: that story has run on too long now.

As everyone made their way off to bed I settled in to watch the start of the Boxing Day Test Match between Australia and India from the MCG. It was good cricket and a fitting finale to a really good Christmas.

With clerics and politicians from around the world making their pronouncements today I found myself reflecting (as I have often in the past) on how much of our worldly wealth is spent on security. I don’t just mean the defence budget with its weapons of terror, but the border agencies, the cc tv systems and high street security staff, the anti-fraud agencies, OSCR, child protection, vulnerable adult protections, regulators of all different kinds which work to keep banks and business and so on in order. It is a huge amount of every pound generated. If only that money (and those resources of skill and time) could be set free to eradicate hunger, sickness, lack of education and so on what a different world we would live in. But then a world in which such emphasis was not required would already be a very different world. I suspect that it is only in communities in which people feel valued and feel that their world is a fair one that such a direction of travel is possible – which is why it is appropriate today for politicians and leaders of faith groups to stress the importance of social justice, and why little steps towards a fairer world are always important.

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