Don’t worry. It can’t be as bad as last year.

So it’s December, and in the lead up to Christmas we find ourselves at a point which causes us to think about the year gone by – particularly what we were doing this exact time last year. I had to pause last weekend as I saw the a jumper for my twenty-something brother. He is cool. I must be even cooler as he permits me to choose clothes for him. I saw this jumper, bought it and then thought, “Oh no, did I get him the exact same one last year? The same colour and vibe?” Hmm. Only time will tell.

Other things are also similar yet different in our lives this year. Come January, Adam will once again be without a job. He handed in his notice this week. The company he worked for changed to a shift pattern system which included weekends and evenings. As much as we looked a various combinations for how to work it, it just didn’t fit with our family life and commitments.

The management were actually very kind and are sorry to see him go and will be writing a good reference. So this isn’t exactly the best of Christmas gift but we have a strange peace about it. And as the title suggests ‘it isn’t as bad as last year’.

Last year in December we left Nottingham for Chester. Neither of us had jobs, we didn’t have house, our furniture was in storage and we lived with friends in a small three bed house for a month with our five month old son and four year old daughter. This was a real low. However, once you have this as your bed-rock ‘times are difficult’ place, the only way is up. This year, okay, Adam doesn’t have a job, but I do and we have a house. We also have increased faith that God has got our back in the good and bad times. This is an entry from diary last year:

Saturday 14th December 2013 

We are on the move, packing as I write this and soon putting boxes on the van.
God’s provision has already been immense. Sums of money in the last 8 weeks have featured an unmarked envelope of cash on my desk (£100), an anonymous letter full of notes through the front door (£500), a £1000 transfer to our bank account from a couple we barely know and now in last ten mins another £500 in cash through the door. I’m hope people are aware that we’re not drug barons. 
The current total in the last three weeks, given to us: £2250. 
As it turned out, we were given around double that amount during our move to Chester.
As we enter the festive season we are of course a little nervous about next month but it could also be a great opportunity. Who knows, Adam may actually get a job is passionate about (this would be a copywriter, editor, designer, just in case you know of anything going). And even though things aren’t exactly rosy, there is one family who had an even rougher Christmas 2,000 years ago. I can’t get over the fact that May travelled so far on a donkey. At 38 weeks pregnant the bus used to make me feel queasy. They were also kind of homeless and ended up having a ‘stable/shack birth’, when still the idea of a home-birth freaks me out a little.
So we are thankful and joyful. We have an incredible community around us here, who are part of Vineyard 53 (our church) and we have amazing loving families. We also have so many generous, supportive friends, both old and new.
Grandma K on damage control in a very festive garden centre.
The Bookworm is appearing as Mary in her first nativity and we are expecting it to be full-on hilarious. She has asked if she is required to the ‘pop the baby out’ but we said no need to bother, we think you will find him under your chair or something.
We have also been falling slowly more in love Chester this year. Vineyard 53 had the opportunity last Saturday to run an activity tent in the middle of the highly acclaimed Chester Christmas market. We offered a range of three different crafts, all of which could be done of free. We had 108 children in and out of the tent from the hours of 11am – 3pm and we had great chats with the grown-ups too.
This Saturday Adam and folk from the church are singing carols in Ellesmere Port, with a giveaway of festive treats and warms drinks for the shoppers. On Sunday morning we are holding a Christmas Party for some children who are part of a Sunday kids’ church we help run in a community centre. Lots of fun to be had.
Hopefully next time I write I will be reporting a flood of interviews for Adam, beautiful pics of our short (already paid for) trip to Center Parcs, and more answers to prayer.
Much love,
Sarah

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