PROGRAMMED FOR THE SEASON
I don’t know what it is about this time of the year, at this stage of my life. The buzz of festivities used to be energising, now it’s just enervating (I’ve always wanted to use that word). So this is the year I decided all presents would be gift vouchers or cash. I would plan the simplest of menus for Christmas Day and accept no invitations to “we must catch up” in the two weeks prior. I even decided I wouldn’t send Christmas cards, except to some aged friends for whom a mantelpiece festooned with cards is a must. I decided I would have time and head space to stroll up to the big day in peace and harmony with all, with enough time in my days to add a few hundred words to my current writing project.
But here, two weeks out from D Day, I have unearthed presents purchased months ago, which in all conscience should be wrapped and given to the people I bought them for; cards arrive daily from people I thought had long ago forgotten me, and who I no longer think about, either, and I am writing cheery little replies on cards I bought in a rash moment in a Boxing Day sale two years ago. Not only that, but I am pouring over my recipe collection for that amazing Bombe-Alaska-substitute-for-plum-pudding. I am too distracted to write but not enjoying myself enough not to regret it. So, to cheer up myself I accept an invitation to an Open Day at a creative arts project in the Adelaide Hills. At the very least, I’m thinking, it will be a few degrees cooler up there than down here on the plains. It isn’t, but it doesn’t matter.
The old stone barn with its large skylights is a perfect place to relax and create from the heart. A space is cleared, a large canvas spread on the floor, and we are invited to work on a group painting with an Aboriginal artist, who has suggested a theme of healing. In an adjoining room an accapella choir practises Christmas carols and, later, emerges to give a polished and beautiful performance in person. We lay down our brushes, sit back on our heels and join in the songs of praise. How wonderful is Jesus Christ who put aside the majesty he was entitled to and humbled himself to live with us!
It has been a wonderful three hours. I have returned to the city on the plain with my spirit and soul washed clean. I won’t be writing any more cards. I’ve ceased the search for the Bombe Alaska recipe. And I won’t be feeling pressured or guilty about it, either. Joy to the world!