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We are often asked to write articles for different events. This Christmas article can be seen on Sheffield Eagles website, Rotherham United’s match programme and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s bulletin. “May kindness, peace and love resound in your life this Christmastime.”

Photo thanks to Paul Arky on Unsplash

Preparing for Christmas can be daunting for many of us, especially when the first TV commercial about Christmas is aired in July to help add to the pressure.

Christmas can be a time of celebration, laughter, joy and happiness due to receiving and giving presents and being with our family & friends. However, it can also be a time of sadness and loneliness for many too.

For my brother & I Christmas was never a happy time due to the fact my Mam had to work every Christmas day so were often left by ourselves.

This carried on to my adult life and for many years I hated the build up to Christmas due to the memories it brought back to me. I am so grateful to my wife Linda who has helped me to start enjoying and celebrating Christmas.

This pre-Christmas time of Advent (from Latin meaning ‘coming’) is used in the Christian church calendar to describe the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Other words that are appropriate for Advent can be: aware, alive, attentive, alert & awake.

I know some people like to be well prepared for Christmas and like my sister in law will buy Christmas presents in the January sales ready for next year; others are more laid back about things and wait until the last thing before preparing for Christmas day. Whatever your past experiences and your plans for this Christmas, I do hope and pray that you will experience some Joy, Peace, Laughter, Kindness & Love.

Photo thanks to Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

In all the busyness of Christmas I hope you manage to have some space for yourself and thoughts to remember loved ones that are no longer with you. And also to reflect on the Christian Christmas message that isn’t just about a baby, but about the invisible God becoming human. As Richard Rohr says:

‘Jesus’ birth was saying that it was good to be human and that God was on our side.’

Whatever your beliefs this Christmas, I want to wish you and pray that this Christmas will be an enjoyable season for you and your family. May the Joy, Peace, Laughter, Kindness & Love resound in your home and your life.

Merry Christmas

God Bless you all.

Baz Gascoyne

December 2023

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