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A spoilt child’s New Year

December 31, 2015

I really loved Christmas when I was little. I am an only child and I guess in many ways I was spoilt. I was certainly spoilt when it came to Christmas. I can remember getting up before dawn to open presents, only to be sent back to bed. But it wasn’t too long before my Mam and Dad gave in and, bleary eyed, followed their over excited child into the living room. There there was a huge pile of presents, almost all for me!

I wasn’t subtle with my presents. I would pile in ripping the paper off one, then the next. I was like a pig in a strawberry bed. It can’t have taken long before I had lots of new toys and games and a huge pile of torn wrapping paper. I vaguely remember giving my Mam and Dad hugs and kisses of thanks, but to be honest that could just be my adult self trying to make myself feel a little better about the spoilt brat that I probably was.

I loved Christmas, but only because it was a time to get things, lots of things. After the presents were opened I would dash out to compare and try out presents with my friends. Presumably leaving a pile of discarded wrapping for someone to clear, Dad would go for a drink and Mam would get on with preparing Christmas dinner (or lunch for those of you not from the north).

Compared to the Christmas message of the angels my childhood Christmases must sound dystopian. That may be true, but I loved them and I don’t think they were that different from those of the people around me then, or of many people that I see around me today. I was baptised as a baby (probably to keep my Gran happy) but I can never remember church or faith entering my family life in any way. Growing up Christmas was for me and mine a winter gift-giving festival of presents and feasting. Good fun but soon over and forgotten. It was a huge shock, many years later, when I found out that Christmas only started on Christmas Day and lasted almost a fortnight afterwards. It was even more of a shock to find that the Wise Men only turned up a couple of years later.

I now know Christmas as a birthday celebration. I’ve been invited to Jesus’ birthday party. Yes, there were presents and food and drink, but Christmas is now a celebration of hope that lasts after the wrapping paper is binned and the tinsel is put away. The birth of that little child so many years ago still brings hope to my world. It brings hope because all the potential of that new life was fulfilled beyond the wildest dreams of any parent. I am now at the beginning of my favourite story once again. I know how it will end, but I’m still excited to throw myself into the drama of it all. I can look forward to the stories that are to come: To Jesus panicking his parents by staying behind in Jerusalem: To Jesus teasing and ridiculing the posh people: To Jesus at parties: To the arrest and execution (where all seems lost again): To the triumph and hope to follow.

All of that is to come. But for now I am content to let Jesus live in and through me. So let the New Year story unfold…

Happy New Year!


This year I want to share something from my town for New Year:

Harleston has come together to make a New Year’s resolution. It is a resolution to make this little town even better place. How? By “Thinking for Each Other” on the roads and throughout our town.

To join hear our invitation to join our New Year’s resolution just follow this link: Harleston – Think for Each Other (

There are so many people in my town to praise but this year Carol Wiles has been singled out for particular well deserved praise for her behind the scenes service to all and awarded an MBE for “dedicating 25 years of her life to helping children with disabilities” – Congratulations Carol, it’s well deserved:


Carol Wiles

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