So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun.
So sang John Lennon in 1971 – and if you’ve been listening to the radio, and shopping in supermarkets and department stores in the last couple of months, you’ll be aware he’s still singing it, 35 years after his death on December the 8th 1980.
It’s become as familiar as every other Christmas-themed song, from Slade’s raucous “Merry Christmas Everybody” to the gentler “Last Christmas”, yet it’s only recently that I’ve taken any real notice of the lyrics of “So This Is Christmas”.
Maybe it’s because I’m no longer in the first – or even second – flush of youth, but the opening verse strikes more of a chord ( no pun intended ) with me now.
Or perhaps this year’s terrible events in Paris, Tunisia and elsewhere have given it an extra dimension?
While we’re able to look back at what 2015 presented us with, many young, vibrant people died needlessly and tragically this year.
This is not a pious “Thought For The Day” lecture.
That’s not my style.
In fact, people often look at what I’m wearing and conclude I have no style.
But it might do us good, amid the pre-Christmas madness, to reflect on what we’ve achieved since 2014 – especially the fact that we’re still alive and kicking.
When I was a nipper, older relatives used to say to me “Count your blessings!”
I never understood what they meant then – but I certainly do now.
Those of you who’ve had a bad year health-wise or financially may wonder if you have any blessings to count.
But just think about the thousands of people whose homes have recently been flooded to such an extent they’re going to be uninhabitable for months – they might not even be habitable this time next year.
Unless it’s happened to you, it’s impossible to take in how utterly devastating on every level it feels when your home, furniture, clothes, electrical items and Christmas presents you’d bought and wrapped weeks ago, have been contaminated by an unstoppable wall of stinking, muddy brown river water.
Flood victims won’t be having much fun on December 25th, so when we’re tucking into our Christmas lunch or eating turkey sandwiches in front of the telly, let’s spare them a thought, wish them luck in 2016 – and count our blessings.