THE seasonal chill of December has gripped the Fylde but this week stirred a flood of warm feelings.
At Edmonds Towers we started preparations for Christmas. Shops here in Great Marton, as elsewhere, sparkle with decorations. There are cheerful greetings in the frost-filled air and that bustle of activity before a great event.
But, as so often in winter, there was sadness too with the passing of an old friend.
Frank had lived a long time, 90 years, but seemed as genially spirited and interested in others as ever – despite increasing physical setbacks.
After the shock we immediately feel our loss and then, with affection, remember the amusing stories and enjoyable moments.
Now we think of his widow and family, fortified at least in the knowledge there are many of them. Frank and his wife had doted on the younger ones and, after looking back gratefully over so many years of happiness, there is now a future too of growing lives.
Many may bemoan the costs and stress this festive time brings, but it also draws us closer to those who are dearest, brings nearer the ones far away and renews friendships. It’s a time to be thankful for what we have, to rejoice and relax – then face a new, coming year.
This brief period to me seems one of balance, where hectic or self-concerned lives settle briefly from their ups and downs. We at last pause, celebrate and reflect before moving on.
In the gardens and on the land, too, there is that cold cleaning stillness as all lies “crisp and even” before the fresh beginnings of new life in spring.
As for all that commercialism, excessive drinking, over-eating, wastage and spoiling. . . well, to me what really counts is the time we have spent upon those gifts, on the cooking or over gatherings of family and friends.
The best Christmases were when a child. It mattered little that the bulging stocking by my bed was stuffed with cheap fillers like oranges or sweets, nor that the bigger toys were home-made – knocked up by dad in his garden shed, over long hours after work.
What a thrill it all was – and can still be if we give the time.
Only the hardest heart could not share a breath of that old excitement still sparkling in young eyes today, or not be warmed by a welcoming glow in home windows reflecting the traditional festive scene.
So, let’s be thankful and hopeful of new beginnings – for that, after all, is what the Christmas story is about.
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