Earlier this year, a Mexican translator called David countered my declaration of 'I'm lucky' with, 'no, you're blessed'. For much of the year I've been pondering just what that meant. In her novel, Gilead, Marilynne Robinson's vicar states that 'blessing something does not sanctify it, but rather acknowledges the inherent sacredness in it', which I've found quite useful.
But perhaps I'm missing the obvious. In hOME this year we've looked at hospitality, using the book Radical Hospitality by Daniel Homan and Pratt Lonni Collins. I like to think I've learnt from this. But it occurs to me that this year I have the recipient of some outstanding acts of hospitality and kindness. In my travels this year (sorry about the climate change, future generations), I've been to, amongst other places, Praha, Mexico (three times), Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Dallas and I'm about to set off to Lisse in Holland. In those travels, I've been taken in by a standup Canadian on crutches and his fiancee (Patrick, if you're reading this, Happy Christmas to you and Jitka), had Wendy leave a key in a cafe for me in Edinburgh and then plied me with great tea, been gotten drunk while watching Mexican football in Monterrey, had Rebekah take me in in Eindhoven before her friends bought us dinner, and I am about to be put up by by Dutch relatives. Other people, Mike and Sarah that is, have let me their house for a year at a very cheap rate, Anita knitted me a lush scarf, Gerry played cricket for me even though England were playing Portugal at the same time, Ricardo the Mexican Numpty explained how things were 'very important', Rebekah went out of her way to take a picture of the Dan Perjovschi cartoon, Muzz opted to camp with hOME at Greenbelt, and so it went on. So many people have willingly and sometimes unwittingly contributed to making my year such a good one.
I still may not know what 'being blessed' means, but I'm pretty sure I know what it feels like for me. It's the little things that mean a lot.
Merry Christmas one and all. May there be plenty of little things for you all.