Christmas – a time of reflection, family, faith and a baby. I was thinking how a lot happens in 365 days and it made me wonder just how many babies are born each year. (Two arrived to two of my siblings so they are in part responsible). I did a little bit of an online search and good grief have you seen this world population website?! It’s not only fascinating but also a little frightening. The births and deaths are live, which makes my eyeballs pop with the thoughts that those numbers represent actual babies arriving breathlessly fast and people really dying, albeit a litle slower. And did you see how many people there are in the word today? Well no, you can’t focus on the final digit as it keeps changing, but it is phenomenal that there are nearly 7 and a half billion of us weighing our planet down and according to this site there were only half that number of us the year before I was born. What happened lads!?!
I found these two articles published last year: In May the Journal.ie proclaimed: The Irish aren’t making as many babies as they used to… , however, it only took us two months as in July, according to the Irish Independant: Baby boom hits Ireland as we top the European birth rate. So in other words, although we are slowing down here on the Emerald Isle we are still ahead of the rest of Europe. Personally, I blame the wet weather and long winter evenings which keep us indoors.
Facebook told me this morning that one year ago I wrote the following. HA! One year older and wiser? It would be nice to know I’ve become a little wiser after a whole year of trying:
The 12 Guilts of Christmas I gave to myself:
1. I Don’t feel like Cooking a Huge Dinner for a Crowd Guilt
2. I Spent Too Much on that Gift Guilt
3. This Gift was Too Cheap Guilt
4. Forgot the Teacher’s Present Guilt
5. Once Again Didn’t Do a ‘Locally Produced’ Christmas Guilt
6. Bought an ‘alternative’ non-Christmas Tree the Kids Hate Guilt
7. Threw away some of the hand made tree decorations the children made for the past ten years because we have too many, (whew) Guilt
8. Want Really Nice Presents for Myself Guilt
9. Haven’t Bought Supplies for the Charity Hampers yet Guilt
10. Worry Too Much About Christmas Guilt
11. Keep Forgetting the True Meaning of Christmas Guilt
12. And after Christmas, The Undelivered Cards/Gift Guilt
This is what I have learnt:
Number one: I DO want to cook the dinner this year as we will be in the home of my sister and her husband who have spent the past few weeks in hospital with their youngest child.
Number two to twelve. The rest of the items on this list don’t matter anymore, we just want the little guy to be home for Christmas.
It’s a good thing we don’t know what’s in store for us in the year ahead, there’s always bad mixed in with the good. I wouldn’t wish difficult experiences on anyone else but I think going through them is a refining process which can bring something precious to the surface. I’m glad that Christmas comes at the end of the year to remind us of what is most valuable, like people and their babies. We only seem to appreciate them when we are close to losing or have lost them. It makes me realise once again how precious are we to Him who made us and who sent his only son as a humble baby even though He knew how much it would cost Him, so that we may not be lost but found in Him. Merry Christmas everyone.
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” Zech 13:9