Christmas is coming ...
It's been in the shops for some time. Friends are boasting of starting (or in one case finishing) their Christmas present buying.
The countdown has begun. As I write, the timer tells me there are a mere 65 days to go.
I am still traditional enough that I would really like to put up the Tree on Christmas Eve and leave it up until Twelfth Night on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany. Now, I am not holding anything against those of you who have been ready for months, but you may have a problem. You may be addicted to Christmas which can result in Christmasitis. So, to see if you suffer from this, 5 quick questions to help you determine if you have contracted this disease. Give yourself a point for every question you answer with yes.
1. Did you buy any of this year’s Christmas presents or decorations at the ‘after Christmas sales’ in January?
2. Have you ever bought an artificial tree because real ones don’t last long enough?
3. Do you have the Christmas countdown clock bookmarked on your computer?
4. Are you convinced that this year Christmas will be even more special than ever before?
5. Have you already planned what to wear on Christmas Day?
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So - do you have Christmasitis?
Are you ready for Christmas?
Normally when this question is asked, people mean do you have the tree up and decorated? Have you sent the cards out? Finished buying all the presents?
But for some of us, “Are you ready for Christmas?” means - Are you ready for the coming of the Lord Jesus?
Isaiah 40:3 “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert, prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’ ”
And if we are honest many of us have to say - no, not really, I'm too busy getting ready for Christmas and all it entails.
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Here at The Vine at Mays Farm, our new retreat house, we want to help you to be ready for Christmas! It's not too late to think about getting ready - being prepared - spending a few hours - to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. And to make it even easier for you, there is a choice of dates, each giving the opportunity to take a couple of nights away from the hurly burly that is the world preparing for Christmas, and think about CHRISTmas.
Dec 9-11 Mainly for clergy and those in full-time ministry. Arrive Monday late afternoon, leave Wednesday after lunch
Dec 13-15 Weekend retreat, open to all. Arrive Friday late afternoon, leave Sunday after lunch.
Stressed already with thinking about preparations for Christmas? Needing some space to be reminded of what the next few weeks are really about? This Advent Retreat will include brief meditations, times of silent reflection, some prayer and worship. Sit by a roaring wood burner to have some down time; enjoy a brisk country walk to clear the mind; have an early night and a long sleep in a comfy bed - with breakfast in bed the next morning if you would like.
Led by Penelope Swithinbank, it will be fairly casual-- the whole idea is to have a place and time to escape the madness of the Christmas rush! Take just a few hours to be intentional about watching and waiting for the coming of the King and it could make all the difference to your Christmas this year.
2 nights full board: £90 per person sharing twin room with ensuite bathroom; £110 single occupation of twin room with ensuite bathroom
FOR FULL DETAILS OF THE VINE AT MAYS FARM RETREAT HOUSE - take a look at our new website! It's the retreat part of Ministries by Design
To book your place on one of the Advent retreats, either :
phone 01666 838332
Places are limited: The Vine at Mays Farm is a Retreat House with a difference. With only 5 individually furnished ensuite spacious guest bedrooms, it is intimate and never too busy. Everything is tailored to you and your needs to get away and meet with God. The house has been totally renovated and guests have access to a library, sitting room (both with wood-burning stoves) and a Chapel with a baby grand piano which loves to be played. There are also walled front and rear gardens (complete with vine) for use when the weather is clement and many lovely local walks; and underfloor heating throughout the ground floor to make sure you are cosy (bedrooms have central heating, in case you were worried!)