As Christmas Day approaches, I've been revelling (as listener rather than participant) in lots of Christmas carols and other Christmas music whilst preparing for the big day. As a Christian, my central focus is upon the Christ child who grew up to challenge the secular and spiritual authorities of his day, proclaiming a discipline of selflessness, compassion, peace and humility. Although his spirit is still alive, it is all too frequently portrayed in a way which is both nauseatingly pious and uncharitable!
At times. it seems quite difficult to reconcile the wining and dining, which is an integral part of our Christmas celebrations, with the commemoration of the birth of a child in quite humble circumstances in an occupied Middle Eastern country but, I still manage to enjoy the celebrations. As I write, the large (11lb) chicken is roasting in the oven, a mixture of butter, garlic, pepper and chilli having been inserted beneath the skin. I've also been busily preparing both standard and gluten-free sausagemeat (with a liberal administering of onion, mustard and parsley) stuffing. Portions of chicken will then be placed in the steamer, along with sundry vegetables on the day itself. Ma belle has prepared the vegetables and the potatoes ready for par-boiling by yours truly, in a special herb and spice infused liquid, prior to roasting in due course.
I've also been diligently filling the sundry feeders for our gardens avian visitors, having first having scraped away the feeder's snow overcoats and, enjoyed a little walk with my beloved around a few blocks of the neighbourhood.
Beth, my elder step-daughter, together with her partner Mahmood, and his son Sina, will be joining us for Christmas Day dinner whilst Cathy and Ken (her partner) will be spending a couple of days in Barcelona. Of course Cathy will be coming round for her Christmas Dinner on Monday, with Ken calling around later to imbibe a few glasses of fermented grape juice. It's rather nice to be able to stretch out the festivities in this way. We are so fortunate to be able to celebrate in this way, whilst being all too guiltily aware of all those millions throughout the globe who struggle for subsistence.
My Christmas wish, as always, is for PEACE, HOPE and JOY, and a far more equitable distribution of the earths resources!