This morning began somewhat disturbingly with a call from Cousin Ron, saying
that both he and his wife are very ill with flu. The dear old boy sounded
terrible but had asked the caregiver to dial my number, just so he could let me
know what was happening, since he had been too sick to phone on Christmas Day. I
assured him of my prayers and those of my friends, and hope to hear better news
next Sunday.

very small group came together for our Church Gathering with George and his
little sister Lydia (age 2) the only children, so we made an exception and invited
her to join our activities, since both John and Mike were there as helpers.

Lydia was very good and apart from my needing George to occasionally act
as “interpreter” we all had a super time. Snacking on clementines and
gingerbread, assembling a quite spectacular Manger Scene on the felt board,
reading and talking about the light of Christ coming into the world (John 1:1-18)
and making sheep and shepherd finger puppets. In our closing prayers the boys
prayed for snow, but not I, being mean enough to hope the worst weather holds
off until my neighbours, whose homes I’m caring for, return from their
Christmas vacations!

     As we
are still experiencing mild and sunny weather it was a real joy to walk home
from church. Not being a promoter of Sunday shopping, I rarely do any but today,
walking past the stationary store, it seemed a fine opportunity to seek out a
Christmas/Winter jigsaw puzzle, since the January Team Gathering theme is
“Puzzles and Popcorn” and we no longer have a suitable puzzle for this season.
I’m hoping to borrow a couple from Jessica’s Grandmother, but just is
case, thought I should have one here, in reserve! Sadly, the selection
consisted of revolting pictures of puppies and kittens wearing Santa hats and
peering out of parcels and stockings, not quite what I had in mind; tomorrow I
shall check out a toy store in my neighbourhood, which sells jigsaws for all

   This afternoon, walking with Wil through the
darkening streets, it was cheering to see twinkly lights wrapped around bushes
and trees and looped on porches and doorways. Although it is unlikely that each
home with such festive decorations houses a family for whom they represent John
1, I’m sure that many do, and even in the others, at this season, there is a wider
expression of Peace and Love amongst neighbours.

     What a privilege it is to live
in a country at peace, where freedom of religion is respected at a time when,
in the town of Christ’s birth, tensions run high and the whole of the Mid-East
still seethes with conflict.

    Writing my Christmas Thank you notes, I pulled
out a “Christmas Oratorio”, by W.H. Auden and close by sharing this link. It is
well worth reading as we move, inexorably, towards the end of this lovely