'back to work today?' - 'yeah, are you?' = conversation with a neighbour. I always find it weird talking about what I do as work - as do my children!
'have a good Christmas?' - 'great thanks, did you?' What is a good Christmas in most people's eyes? - always worth a thought or two. Maggie was struggling with flu throughout & her dad, who's always seemed invincible, had a stroke on boxing day evening, so that clearly affects my emotional response. We saw him up in Kettering saturday and sunday, and although he can't speak yet, there was a clear improvement over 24 hours, so we're praying he'll recover well.
In terms of presents it was great - there have always been pros and cons to having a boxing day birthday, but one of the pluses is the presents (the downfall is the year long wait). I've been pro-crastinating over starting to play golf for ages. It began with 'I'll take up golf when I retire', then my colleague Geoff gave me an old sets of his clubs, but that was nearly two years ago and I've barely swing a club in anger. Now, my children have bought me some golf lessons for my 50th., so no more excuses - all in the name of mission you understand.
In terms of family it was great - it must be a sign of age! However, when Ben drove up behind me on Christmas morning just in time for church, having been up since some ridiculous hour to muck out six horses and then the three hour drive down from the beloved city, it brought a tear to my eye. Not because Ben is any more precious than our other two children, but it just represented something about us all being together, which was very precious. I wonder whether, as the church, we appreciate what Christmas means to those who don't get it the way we do?
However, perhaps because I incurred rather more Christmas stress than usual - Maggie supervised, I was chief(?) cook and bottle washer, perhaps because we had rather more anxiety than usual over Maggie's dad, the sense of 'God with us' was more real than many others - so yes thanks, great Christmas.