Bah humbug! I think Christmas is great. I have a few personal reasons for getting a bit emotional when it is here but I love the idea that this is the day (Note the use of the word “day” not month or epoch) when we celebrate the beginning of the adventure. Christ with us. Love it. But for goodness sake it is still only November. I have started shopping and planning (despite presence of Head of House tutting loudly at Elton John played in the shops for umpteenth time) and I think that’s ok too, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. It hasn’t started yet. Doesn’t it cheapen it a bit lengthening Christmas to six weeks? I know I’m proabably on my own but I’m still at the stage where I’m making a list, I’m checking it twice and then I’M GETTING ON WITH SOMETHING ELSE. Sooo many other things happening before then – mock exams, craft fayre, wedding to watch, meetings to attend, Fruit of Womb Two’s weekend away, good Woody Allen at the Arts Centre,decorating to do etc. etc. None of these Christmas related and, for me, none of them to be sidelined because Christmas is only a month away. And when they are done there will be Return of Fruit of Womb One, end of school term, food shop and food prep, visit of relatives, Work Christmas Do,  Carol Service, excetera, excetera – (said in Yul Brynner voice) all to be enjoyed as part of the general festivities. Like I said, I love it, all in good time.
While I am moaning though, has anyone else found it difficult to find decent Nativity Christmas Cards to send? It’s like we are Puritans or something and are not allowed to represent the image of the Lord. Your choice is Leonardo de Vinci like oil painting or a card done by Mexican children for charity who are at least catching a bit of what Christmas is about. However – try getting one from M & S or Paperchase. Fat chance.

Rant over. This is what I wanted to talk about.This is Lucy. Lucy is our dog. She used to be my brother’s dog and now she lives with us. For the past twelve months she has lived here quite happily. At least, we think she is happy. She eats, she runs, she plays and, given the opportunity, she chews expensive trainers. She only has two clouds on her otherwise idyllic doggy horizon. One is our other dog Morecambe. He didn’t ask for her, doesn’t want her and to be quite frank, wouldn’t miss her, were she to win the doggy lottery and move to the Bahamas. Lucy has dealt with her rejection issues very successfully and shows her contempt by eating from Morecambe’s bowl, lying in his cage, pinching the best spot on the settee and giving him fleas. (Dealt with now – never again – nightmare!)
Her other problem is – her nerves. Or Fear. Lucy is a very jumpy dog. I have no  idea where she gets it from. She has never been beaten. Occasionally she has been yelled at. (see trainers/chewing/expensive above) But that’s the most that has ever happened. Lucy, however, is like a grainy black and white film of a World War 1 veteran suffering from shell shock. A tiny hand movement to scratch an itchy nose can send her scuttling from her chair in fright as if she was about to get the back of my hand (as we say up North) Lucy jumps at the noise a margarine top makes when it is snapped off the tub. She even jumps at the little noise made by an early morning slightly pumpy bottom as someone moves around the kitchen putting the kettle on. (Or so I have been told) Too much detail there – sorry.
You get the idea though. Lucy has a good doggy life to live  here. She lives in a family that loves her (well except for Morecambe). We have open fires, long walks, comfy cushions and people who really like her (except for Morecambe) and still she spends each day scared.
I have to tell you, I can really identify with her. I know what I know what I know and yet, every day I stuggle not to fear. I disappoint myself with it. When I was ill a good few years back I promised myself that I would never be scared of rubbish stuff again. You think that when really scary stuff happens, it will make you immune to worry but it hasn’t. Daft stuff – What will people say if I do that? Is that idea any good? What if I try that and it’s a disaster?  If I am not careful it can cripple me. I don’t try new things. I don’t call people in case they are thinking “What does she want now?” (They don’t seem to be thinking that at all by the way) I can lose all sense of perpective if I’m not careful.
The cure? Well it’s a work in progress as you will have guessed but this is the place I keep coming back to.

Isaiah 41:8
 ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side. I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’ Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Very rough translation for my purposes –  “Man up!  You are not on your own. Do what needs to be done and see what you can achieve. You don’t need to provide the strength – God does that. You’ll only regret it if you don’t”

Realise that Greek scholars will be spinning in graves now (at least those that are dead) but have to tell you – it works for me.


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