I Saw Three Ships

I’m sitting here calm and still….hubby is sleeping as he is really not well. Jeremy our kitten is also sleeping….like the tail of the comet he is burnt out after whizzing around non stop for nigh on twelve hours. I can hear the remnants of Storm Barbara howling around the eaves and I am thinking about tomorrow and living out all my Christmases past and present to the backdrop of the beautiful, immortal and never ending story of the birth of Jesus.

I was dreading this Christmas in a way. It is my second as an orphan ( my lovely dad died over eighteen months ago) and my first as a consultant away from my lovely PRU. Usually I have been immersed in play rehearsals, carols and the excitement of Santa arriving. Our PRU children struggle with all of these things and it is amazing to see the hope and wonder in their eyes when they realise they can achieve everything that they struggled to do in mainstream….sing like angels, star in our play, see Santa in his grotto (my office ) without swearing at him……a magical time. I wondered how I would cope this year without all this as it confers that sense of belonging to a school…it gives identity and meaning…and all  of a sudden, like a ship adrift at sea, the stability is gone.

It was always a gamble going alone, and I had no idea how it would all pan out but actually it has been fine.I have had just the right amount of work in a starting off period and lots of repeat bookings which gives confidence. But what about Xmas? I bought a jumper with flashing lights and got to wear it in a school I had visited previously…the KS1 children loved it and I felt a little bit of belonging. Then I was asked to attend the play at another school where I was working with a Y2 boy with suspected ADHD….I couldn’t have been prouder if I had been his mum! He was a fisherman and said all his lines and performed the actions with gusto…his singing was sublime….brilliant! This is what makes my job so worthwhile! 

But the icing on the cake was going back to my PRU. I had gone in to do some work in the morning but was invited to stay for Xmas lunch and Santa’s visit….I also got to wear my Xmas jumper again! (It was Xmas jumper day.) I had an amazing time….I loved helping to set up the dining room and lunch was fab. Then the killer…a boy (Portugese) who came to us last year said to me ‘ I wish you came back’.I cannot explain the wave of emotion that passed through me. Later I helped bring the children to see Santa and saw again that mixture of cockiness and vulnerability with the oldest children reverting back to early childhood when they entered his ‘grotto’ (now the new deputy’s office.)

And so to the ships of the title….this has always been one of my favourite carols and it resonated particularly this year. This year my ship has come in in more than one way and will culminate in reflection tomorrow. My three ships are…my new job, my new world and literally new life…my lovely kitten Jeremy…who is a source of joy after the tragic deaths of my two cats Jordy and Eli in the summer from unknown causes. From death comes new life and the Christian story is about the birth of a special baby…the son of God. It is about hope and ordinariness….events repeated the world over…and no matter what our beliefs are, is about the human condition.

Tomorrow I will celebrate my Christian heritage and give thanks for the birth of baby Jesus who then died to save us all. Birth and death are inextricably linked but we can only do the best that we know we can whilst we are on Earth to do it.

Wishing you all a merry Christmas

‘ I saw three ships come sailing in on Christmas day in the morning’