Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas cake

I made my Christmas cake this morning.
Well actually, the mixture is ready to go in the oven.
No greaseproof paper to line the tin....schoolgirl error!

I love this time of year.
I love Advent, I think even more than Christmas itself.
I love the anticipation...
the wonder...
the excitement...

In a way it's a relief for us as a family to have something normal happening in our lives for a change.
The loss of Chris's parents, my Grandad, and my Dad this year has left us reeling.
Nothing is as it usually is,
So the normality of Advent is very welcome.

Anyway, back to the Christmas cake.

                                                                My kitchen this morning
                                                          I'm not the most ordered cook!

It's an ancient Marguerite Patten recipe I use.
I've tried others but keep coming back to this one.
I had everything ready and prepared.
The fruit, the nuts, the cherries, the brandy.
I was merrily mixing it all together in my very old,
very large, mixing bowl, that is only used for this purpose.
But I could see something wasn't quite right.

And then I remembered.....I'd forgotten the flour!
The lovely ingredients needed the flour to bind them together.
It's not rocket science, but domestic science.

Advent is often full to the brim.
Busy with the whirl of everything we call 'Christmas'.

Jesus is the one who holds it, and us, all together.
He is the one.
The one who 'shall be called Emmanuel, God with us' (Matthew 1:23)
The one who offers rest
And peace
And hope
And life

Long after Christmas is past
And the Christmas cake is eaten.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The shepherd

It's confession time!
Psalm 23 was never a favourite of mine.
I'd learnt it at school.
Sang countless arrangements of it.
Heard it read over and over again.
But somehow it never really filtered through.
Until about a year ago.
'Certainties' in my life have become less and less,
so I have come to cry out more and more to the shepherd who supplies all I need.
The Shepherd who
A friend shared this with me today.
It spoke to my heart and brought a tear to my eye.
Be blessed x
The Lord is my constant companion.
There is no need that He cannot fulfill.
Whether His course for me points
to the mountaintops of glorious joy
or to the valleys of human suffering,
He is by my side.
He is ever present with me,
He is close beside me
when I tread the dark streets of danger,
and even when I flirt with death itself,
He will not leave me.
When the pain is severe,
He is near to comfort.
When the burden is heavy,
He is there to lean upon.
When depression darkens my soul,
He touches me with eternal joy.
When I feel empty and alone,
He fills the aching vacuum with His power.
My security is in His promise
to be near me always
and in the knowledge
that He will never let me go.

Psalm 23 - Psalms Now Leslie F. Brandt

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Stir up Sunday

Today is Stir Up Sunday.
The last Sunday before Advent is traditionally the day to make your Christmas Puddings.
But if that idea doesn't fill you with joy, then maybe take a moment to think about this.
'Stir up O Lord, the wills of your faithful people.'
It's from the Book of Common Prayer, and it's where this Sunday gets it name from.

My circumstances are very different this year.
I have choices about how I spend this Advent Season.

What about you?
Before we get caught up in the whirlwind of Christmas, how about being stirred up a bit?
Not to make us more frantic, but to look at things differently.
Perhaps even to really see Jesus this Christmas.
'And he shall be called Immanuel.... God with us.' Matthew 1:23

Happy Stir Up Sunday.
Enjoy your pud!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Upstairs Downstairs

I am trapped upstairs for a few hours.
It's ok.
In fact it's infinitely preferable to the prospect of being downstairs.

Upstairs I have space, warmth, books, magazines, and a cup of tea.
Downstairs there are two rooms piled high with furniture and stuff, and a floor I can't walk on until it dries.

Upstairs, I am content.
Downstairs, before I completed the necessary gymnastic feat to get my foot on the stairs, I was miserable.

Who was it that said, "I'm in my own little world. It's ok, they know me here."?

Psalm 91:4 says
"He will cover you with his feathers, He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armour and protection."

Under His feathers I am safe.
I may be here a while.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Peace like a River

I got a surprise in the post today.
My friend Julie, who I know prays for me a lot, sent me a peace lily.
The instructions made me smile
Your Peace Lily will tell you when it hasn't been watered as its leaves will droop (but try to avoid it reaching that stage)!
That sounds familiar....

Last week I had a line of a song going through my head.
Something about a soft robe wrapping me up in his love.

He gives you peace like a river, washing away all your fears.
He gives you light, like a new day, glowing through all your tears.
He gives you joy, like a soft robe wrapping you up in His love.
He gives you strength, like an eagle, hovering high above.

He came hoping to show you the way to be free.
He came dying to love you, so you could see how to see.
He gives you hope, like fresh laughter bubbling out of a child.
He gives you life that’s unending, loving you all the while.

Why not pray it for you and your family, as I pray it over mine.

May the peace of God, which transcends all human understanding,
guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Monday, 12 November 2012

All I once held dear

In some ways I feel as if I'm losing everything I once held dear at the moment. Nothing is as it was. But this is what I cling on to. God loves me. I trust Him.