Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas nears

Cormatin decorations
Almost everywhere you go at the moment the build up to Christmas is evident. Every village and town has a Christmas market of local food goodies and handicrafts, all vying for your Christmas Euros. The supermarkets are stocking up on huge quantities of chocolate, foie gras, exotic fruit and vegetables along with the apparently unmissable shell fish and salmon.  Decorations are going up and the nativity scene in Taizé is working its way to the big day.

Rose in our front garden
But somehow it doesn’t feel at all like almost the end of the year. The weather is warmer than it should be. Last night the thermometer only dropped down to 8 degrees (Celsius for those Americans who might actually think that 8 degrees is cold!) and we would normally expect to be having frost at this time of year. I could not believe it when I saw some buds on the roses in our front garden the other day and even more so when one of them opened up this morning - in mid-December?

Our post box is filling up with cards from around the world - it is always nice to hear from friends far and near. All our cards are now in the post, there just remains the last one or two presents to sort. That’s this week’s job, along with preparing food for parties we are going to as well as making sure we are adequately stocked ourselves for the holiday season. So we are sort of on schedule.

Shepherds arrive
We took some time off from Christmas preparations to visit the Nativity scene in Taizé this afternoon and despite the donkey, it lacks something this year. It is all very static and the only change since last week is that some bland cut-out shepherds have arrived, but that is about it. I really liked the live chickens last year, they stayed all through Advent and kept the stable scene looking like a stable all week and the somewhat amateurish models of the main characters, really added some life to the whole scene.

Advent wreath
Sadly this year there are also no bible verses to contemplate and no changing scenes to mark the Christmas journey which is a real pity, as it is the only set of decorations that really mark the meaning of Christmas for miles around. Don’t get me wrong I love our village Smurfs and Snow White is always a welcome addition to the cold damp streets of Cormatin, but Christmas should be more than Walt Disney and other cartoons.

I think I should take a little contemplative pause in preparations as the pink candles of Joy are lit around the world.

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