Family night in

I suppose Christmas holidays are always confusing. How do you make sure you’re rested and still do the work you need to do by the time you get back? For that matter, how do you rest at all amid all the extra work that needs to be done Christmas – from family traditions and meeting friends to buying presents and preparing for extra church services? How do you remember Jesus rather than letting the lack of daily routine drive out any hope of spending quiet time with him? Where on earth do you find a present your friends will like for under a fiver? But I think my Christmases have been made more confusing since I’ve been away from home at University.

In the year and a half I’ve been at Uni I’ve done a lot of new things and changed in lots of ways, so it takes some time to remember how I used to fit in here – at which point I realise because things have changed that’s not where I fit any more. That said, it’s been great to come back and see and get to know them all again – I really appreciate everyone who’s been praying for strong, God-honouring relationships between us. There have been plenty of long conversations from Sabbath laws to the death (or not, it seems) of chivalry, which have challenged me to think harder in terms of theory and application and for which I’m thankful. But I’m also thankful for lighthearted times – for the chance to joke and mess around and feel completely comfortable and, as it were, at home.

In that spirit, I want to remember a couple of silly family nights from the last week or so. On the first, we were trying to find something more original than Monopoly to do when Mum decided that we should start with Charades (old-fashioned style) then move onto whatever someone thought of next. After a brief interlude (when everyone turned off all the lights and hid in various places while I was upstairs finding a jumper) we began. In the 15 minutes ‘preparation’ time, Dad and I put together a three part dramatic mime of A Christmas Carol, complete with dream sequence hand waving and a game of patty cake for young Scrooge. David and Mum portrayed Grumpy Old Men by…acting as grumpy old men! I have no idea what they did with their other 14 minutes once they’d thought of that, but we had fun which was the main thing.

After that, we had a go at quick charades (with no time to think) from which the highlight was the film Snowman, depicted by picking up a woollen snowman and waving him around. This rolled into Pictionary, which became interesting as soon as the three TV programmes various family members are obsessed with were out of the way. The final “event” of the evening was a very geeky West Wing quiz from the internet which David won by a point (though Dad wins the comedy buzzer contest with ‘I did know!’).

In an era when anything not involving electricity is outdated and boring, this was a tribute to the fun you can still have with just newspaper and eyeliner (don’t ask!). As if to prove that the evening had been a success, our dog Scruff came and went to sleep on his bed in our front room. He can count to four family members and doesn’t like it when we’re not all around, so will lie by the front door and apparently has been doing so for most of the term while I’ve been away. He was with us tonight, though, seeming to enjoy the fact that we were all back together as much as we were.

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