Tomorrow is the 1st of December. I haven’t had an advent calendar for a good number of years, instead opting for an advent candle. I like candles anyway, so this seemed like a good option. Normally it’s a much bigger candle that I get, but I was apparently slow in getting to the shops this year and all the chunkier ones were gone. I’ll have to be a lot more careful about not letting it burn down quicker than it should.
It was the local church’s Christmas fair today. Happy to support it I popped along with a couple of clear intentions. One was to get some jigsaws and the other was to enter the tombola and the raffle. With other commitments I had to leave before the raffle was drawn, so have no idea how I may have done in that, but I was quite successful in the tombola with an icing kit, lavender sachets, and some Cornish Fudge Liqueur. I suspect the last of these may get it’s grand opening tonight when I see some friends, but it’s a good selection and I’m happy to have been able to support the local church even if it’s not the one I’m a member of.
While it’s still November and these won’t be used for a while, the Christmas decorations have been taken down from the loft. Part of the reason for this is so that I don’t have to go up into the loft again until they go back up (hopefully). Not all of these will be used, and some of the crates are half empty just because of the shape of some decorations so it’s not quite as many as it looks, but it does mean that I can change the display each year. A lot of it is very understated and traditional as well as for me Christmas is about something far more important than decorations.
I was leading the service at the church I attend again today. It’s something that always takes preparation and I’d had a couple of attempts at the preparation before having something I was happy with. As others have said, it takes a lot of practice to come across naturally when you are standing in front of people. The sermon was on ‘The Good Shepherd’. Not to be confused with Psalm 23 this was the passage in John 10. An illustration used about the type of shepherd really struck home. Unlike most shepherds today where they move the sheep from field to field from the rear of the flock, in Jesus’ time, the sheep would follow the shepherd. They would recognise his voice and follow and trust it. It was a reminder that it is a willing following that takes place, not a forced persuading. It also left me wondering about how much else we misunderstand because of the ‘modern’ eyes we see things through. (PS, I know the picture is not that of a shepherds crook but it’s the closest thing I have that is shaped like one!)
I was somewhat taken aback on the way home today when I popped into my local grocery store and waiting at the checkout were a load of chocolate santas. This is just way too early for these to be on sale. There’s still nearly 4 months to go! I understand that Christmas has, for many, become a commerical opportunity and nothing more. Obviously I feel that is somewhat sad and that people are missing out on what Christmas really does offer them, but I also have to accept that for many, that is what they want. However I can’t believe anyone wants it this early.
It’s our yearly church BBQ today and I’ve agreed to take bring along a gazebo that I own. The plan being that people can shelter from the sun if they want to. Of course being the UK and there being the words BBQ the gazebo will be used to help those brave enough to go outside to shelter from the rain, including the BBQer in chief. Having had a long hot summer, today has to be one of the wettest days of the summer and it really has been tipping it down. Everyone is quite rightly staying indoors and I will have no choice but to get soaked taking it down. I’m finally feeling a bit better so I’m hoping that this drencing won’t make me ill again!
The church I attend had a social event today with a games evening at the vicar’s house. As the weather continues to be dry and warm it was felt that garden games would be more suitable than indoor games. Garden games has become my forte. I have over the years obtained a number of slightly different garden games which manage to prove good fun for all. The two games I took along were Smite and Ladder Golf. Both are great fun and while easy to understand, have wonderfully frustrating elements. Smite is the longer standing game in my collection and always is popular. I even had one friend buy the game online only half way through playing his first game. Its not the first time its been played this year, and I strongly suspect it won’t be the last time either. If you’re looking for something different in your garden games this year, I don’t think you can go far wrong with either of these.
(In line with current blogging practice, I should point out that I am not being paid by either of these game manufacturers to mention their product or brand).