Half way through Advent and it all feels different.  We usually have rituals and traditions at this time of year – buying presents, seeing friends, Christmas parties, carol services, mulled wine, winter festivities……  These events give us focus and fun during the dark days of winter.   

This year is so different for me – very little shopping in person, no carol concerts, no pub meals with friends, no Christmas parties. 

Rather than lamenting the loss, I’ve been thinking about what it is I am really missing.  What role do these things play in my life?  What are they doing for me?  

If you know that, you can find different ways to fill that role. 

A large part of it is joining with others.  Another aspect is reliving the memories and emotions linked to previous Christmases.  And this is especially hard if you have lost someone this year.  While memories may bring sadness, they are an essential part of being human. 

This year we will lay down new memories of a different Christmas.  Yesterday three friends joined me in the garden under the shelter of a gazebo for a bit of Christmas cheer and chat.  It was a bit chilly and next time I will wear thermal underwear, but we had a good time.   

We can enjoy doing things differently this year and in future years we will look back with some happy memories of a Christmas like no other.