I got my first pair of glasses as a teenager, the writing on blackboard had become too hard to read and The squinting was giving me wrinkles. After much deliberation I picked a "fashionable" pair, which coupled with my Dierdre Barlow (younger readers feel free to google) perm make me thankful there are not pictures readily available!
When I put them on I was struck by the huge difference that they made, despite knowing my vision had been getting worse I was not aware of the amount I had been missing out on, the sharpness of detail, and I remember the biggest difference I saw was that trees had leaves. It might seem bizarre, I knew that trees had leaves, but my poor vision meant I only saw trees as whole objects and not the intricacy of the individual leaves. I was completely taken by the details of these things and even now I love the beauty of trees as they change through the seasons.
15 years ago I realised my vision was getting blurred again, but this was not something that could be corrected by glasses or contacts. The cloudiness was in my heart, the pressure of life and family were the behind the fogginess. I had become overwhelmed as a new mum, Christmas was speeding towards me and all was blur of present buying, house decorating, people seeing, recipe testing to make the best Christmas a Dinner, each one thing overlapping the other, crashing together, becoming one big blur falling under the banner of Christmas which began to feel like a lot of effort over nothing very much.
December 13th 1998, after spending time on an Alpha Course at Kerith Community Church, I made a choice to accept Jesus in my life during a Sunday Church Meeting whilst the notices were being read, and that day I got new glasses, spiritual glasses that changed the way I saw Christmas. I no longer saw the whole big mess I had made it but instead the tree lights shone brighter, the baubles were more colourful, the angel atop the tree now looked jaunty not wonky.
As I wrapped presents I was not frustrated by sticky tape and awkward shapes, but smiling as I thought of how the recipient would feel. When I wrote cards wishing peace and joy I actually meant it more than a trite greeting. As I planned recipes I scaled them down, and took some shortcuts, to give me time with guests instead of being banished and frustrated in the kitchen.
I sang carols with a new heart, the words having meaning beyond the old familiar tunes, I counted down the remainder of advent with new perspective beyond what the next chocolate shape would be in the calender.
The cold was colder, the frost crisper, the scarves and hats snugglier as I bundled my boys into our Christmas Day morning meeting and I sang my heart out with joy and gladness, and as I walked back to the car and saw trees stripped of the leaves that had so captured me 30 years I felt like a small child; buzzing with anticipation of present opening, knowing nothing could top the gift I had received that year, and that He would stay with me forever, He would not become outdated, would not need returning in the New Year, nor a cheaper version be available in the sales. Jesus - my Hope, my Joy, my Peace ......my best Christmas Present ever.