Do you like Christmas?

At this time of the year, many folk are asking “Do you like Christmas?”

I ask this of others too.

I wonder what they like and why.

I wonder what I like and why.

As a child I really looked forward to Christmas. It was the only time of the year when we received gifts. We had cards and some small gift for our birthday, but at Christmas, we got everything we would need for the year – new coat, school shoes and uniform, clothes, bubble-bath and those exciting extras, like colouring book, puzzle, felt-tips, an annual, a story book, maybe something to make or do – a spirograph, a soap-making, or candle-making kit, a sugar mouse… and a selection box. Traditionally, there was always an orange and a handful of nuts in shells in the bottom of the pillow-case too.

What was not to like?

Mammy was also home from work for a few days; the tree was taken out and decorated; Mammy had long since made a Christmas cake and all the treats and extra special food was in store.

Weeks in advance we had prepared the cake, mixed the fruit, soaked in the brandy, rolled out the almond paste, iced the snow-scene, and greeted all our little Christmas friends who played on the cake for another season…

The side-board was smiling proud with the tree in the centre, flanked by the cake and a selection of festive tipples – advocat, beer, QC sherry, cherry B and Babycham…

On Christmas morning, we would wake in the dark to feel if Santa had been, and left a pillow case at the foot of the bed. Whispering our anticipation, dragging the bag up and feeling the shapes of parcels, guessing what they contained.

Soon we would join Mammy in the kitchen to roll out the prepared flakey pastry for sausage rolls and mince-pies to gurgle in the oven before the trussed bird took up all the space…

Then we would open our presents in earnest…

Did I like it as a child?

Of course I did.

Do I like it now?

I don’t know.

I like the opportunity to celebrate with my beloveds – especially my grand-children and I love the memories of how special my Mammy made it for us children, despite the hardships. Hardships were forgotten for Christmas day.


Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is LIKE.

As a child I didn’t know Jesus, though I knew Christmas was a celebration of His birth. Now Jesus is my Lord and my friend, my teacher, healer and my Saviour.

Today I celebrate the mystery of God’s love at Christmas – that God should enter the world as flesh, become one like us, so that we can become one with Him.

What’s not to celebrate? What’s not to like?

This year I want to choose to intentionally celebrate all that is good about Christmas, and not get sucked into the empty commercialism and stress of expectation. ]It is a season of hope and joy and peace to all men and women of goodwill.

Let that be our focus as we make special moments and memories with our loved ones and remember that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

So I ask you: Do you like Christmas?

What do you not like?

What might you do more intentionally this year?

What are you passionate about?


“You go from one extreme to another!”

(I was oft berated and criticised thus.)

“An emotional roller-coaster.”

(I even wrote a poem about this part of my personality. –

Emotional Roller Coaster‘ – LINK

‘All or nothing’ was another description spoken over me.

Some of this was extreme (but natural) reactions to childhood pain – my way of coping with the experienced I faced, and my responses to those hurts and disappointments.

When we experience painful situations, over which we have no control, we often take extreme measures to protect our hearts from further pain.

I praise God that, over many years, the Lord has been softening my heart, breaking down my walls, healing me of old pain, and setting me free from my sinful judgments and responses I made.

Little by little, I am coming out of agreement with lies that have held me captive, and with vows that have bound and limited me.

Addictions have been broken, thanks be to God, and new desires and paths are opened up, but I can’t yet say that I am moderate! It may be a personality thing.

What comes to mind (optimistically perhaps), is the Lord exhorting us to be hot or cold, for He wants to spew out our lukewarm-ness. (Forgive my paraphrase, whilst I find the reference).

Revelation 3:15-16

 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

God is passionate in His love and His compassion and He wants us to be passionate and generous in our compassion and love too – for Him and for one another.

If we are a bit lukewarm, we can inadvertently fall into compromise and into building a house of own choosing.

We may miss the exciting destiny to which God has called us and for which He made us.

What are you passionate about?

(Fan into flame image)

2 Timothy 1:6

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

Talk to God about it and see if He wants to fan that passion back into flame!

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is EXTREME.

October Opportunities

Heart and mind holding hands

The truth will set you free. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

Thank You Father God, for exposing the lies buried deep within – lies that say that to need is greedy, ungrateful and selfish. Thank You for showing me the truth that You want me to learn to know and express my needs, that You care about meeting all of my needs and that You want me to bring all of my needs, concerns, cares, burdens and desires to You – for You promise to listen, to guard my heart and mind and to provide all of my needs.

Lord, You are faithful and true to Your promise.

Blessed be God forever.

Thank You.

Here I want to give thanks publicly for the prayers that God has heard, and that I have seen answers to during the month of October: –

I thank you for Your perfect timing in allowing K to take her neck-brace off, to drive again and for giving her a new home to move to.

For opportunities to minister to C and to speak Your truth and her song and for strengthening her to say Yes to You.

For meeting L’s needs at the funeral of her brother.

For letting R get the job.

For a fabulous last week on the course and for enrolling me on part 2 – for giving me hope, tools, freedom and my song.

For wonderful growth and fellowship in our Home Group.

For healing in C and in our relationship.

For a fun and delightful show night at the theatre.

For some extra work in pre-school, which is a blessing financially and to my heart.

For ‘ephaphtha’ – for opening my ears to hear You and dispelling confusion.

For our joint service with Renaissance Church and for the exciting work You are doing for Your glory here in Carlton.

For taking this beautiful woman of faith home to dance in freedom with Jesus.

For an amazing response to half-term lunch-club, the dedication of the team and the grace You have shown to enable us to serve over 300 lunches.

For the chances to connect with R, C, J and for a lovely sleepover with my grandchildren.

For PG’s kindness to solve my problem and strip all the plaster off.

For the commitment of our Alpha guests and the work You are doing in our hearts.

For Your promise that he who asks, receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

For the opportunity to re-watch all the wonderful EH course videos and consolidate the learning.

For the kindness of the team at Specsavers and the gift of soothing eye-drops.

For showing me that Your sheep CAN hear Your voice.

The song in my ears this week has been

No fear of death, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from Your hand; till He returns, or calls me home, here in the grace of God I stand.’

God is as close to you as the air you breathe and is more faithful and loving than you can ever imagine. Trust Him with all of your concerns, prayers, needs, hopes and desires and He will guard your heart and give you divine rest and peace.

Philippians 4:6-7

Phew, what a performance!

Image shows performance indicator dial ranging from bad to excellent


I think it is true to say that some of us have an ‘issue’ with ‘performance orientation’. Some of us have ‘performance anxiety’ and we may well have both.

In my understanding, hurts felt by us, and expectations we felt put upon us, in childhood, can cause us to feel inadequate/ not good enough as we are, and in some way flawed.

So we believe these lies about ourselves, and often we make vows to ‘be a good girl/boy’, to ‘perform’ well, to ‘get high grades’ in school and work, to achieve lots and succeed, in order to win a sense of being acceptable after-all.

We build a structure of hard-work, perfectionism, performance, control and self-sufficiency, in order to prove to the world that we do deserve to exist, do deserve to breathe your air, do deserve to have a good life, do deserve to succeed, but most of all, that we deserve to be loved and accepted.

For some of us, this structure of performance may serve us well for many areas of our life and career, but deep down, it does not make us feel acceptable or lovable.

The good news is that Jesus has died and risen again, in order that all our good works and strivings can go with Him to the cross, to be replaced with His glorious resurrection life, that He gives to each of us that asks of Him.

We can repent and renounce those lies that we agreed with; renounce those vows and judgments that we made, and be healed to live our best life in freedom and truth.

He has already accepted and loved us, and He has a perfect plan to prosper each of His children, according to His beautifully fashioned agenda – tailor-made for our destiny.

He doesn’t want our performance, or our strivings, just our listening ear and obedient, open heart.


Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is PERFORM

If anyone does not know Max Lucado’s “You are Special” – I highly recommend it.

Dancing in the Rain

‘Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain’.

(Painting and card by Lesley Hollingworth)

A friend, Marilyn, gave me this card last week and it has really blessed me.

I often find myself praying for the storm to pass, but it is a limiting attitude and now I realise that I also want to learn to dance in the rain!

As I have meditated on this thought, I realise that it is not just storms that I wait for to pass, but in many ways I while away my life, waiting for work, tasks, challenges, busy-ness and all manner of events to pass – waiting eagerly for ‘ME-TIME’, which is much appreciated – but meanwhile missing the blessings and joy of the day.

I want to dance in the rain, but also live in the abundance of life in every moment of the day.

Let us learn to dance with each other in the rain, in each of our moments, and in the joy of love.