Blessing Jar

I'm not a journaling kind of person and keeping a diary of any kind is something I'm appallingly bad at, so when I came across the idea of a Blessing Jar late last year I thought it was a great idea and was determined to give it a go.

So here's how it works... each time you receive a blessing from God, no matter how big or small, no matter how important or trivial it may seem, you write it down and pop it into the blessing jar. Then at the end of the year you revisit the jar and the blessings it contains.

It really is that simple!

The joy of this is that there are so many blessings that you've completely forgotten about, and it is truly a joy to look back on the year and remember just how blessed you were. It's also a great reminder that God has us in the palm of his hands and he really does mean what he says in Matthew 6: "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?"

I could just follow the crowd and wish you a Happy Christmas, but I don't want to do that.

Rather, I want to take a moment to think about what the Christmas story really is.

We all know that it's about God coming down and living amongst us, experiencing our pain, grief and joy, but there's so much more going on in the story.

Legacy seems to be a hot-ticket these days as politicians and celebrities get concerned about what their legacy might be. Sadly few of those that get wrapped up in this nonsense seem to understand that we don't get to choose or decide what our legacy will or won't be. Whilst it's true that our actions and words shape any legacy, it is ultimately history with the benefit of time that will have the final say.

Thankfully Madiba never showed the slightest interest in the celebrity-esque manipulation of legacy. Madiba transcended that kind of nonsense which is why his legacy will only grow from what it already is.

So what does his legacy as it exists so far, mean to us?

There are three clear ways in which Madiba and the Anti-apartheid Struggle's legacy have directly impacted our lives.

Christmas Tree

The boys have spent the morning dressing the Christmas tree, which is the only thing Joel has any intention of dressing today! Eli got to top the tree off with the angel and all in all it's looking good.

Our eldest niece is on her way to the airport as she begins her marathon flight with Turkish Airlines out to join us for Christmas and we're all excited to see her again.

Let the festivities begin!

Today is a huge day here in South Africa as hundreds of thousands of citizens from every section of society join together to remember and celebrate the life of Tata Madiba.

These supporters will also be joined by an unprecedented gathering of world leaders, many of whom will be left totally bewildered and gobsmacked by the tributes that pour in to honour Madiba and his legacy.

To each of those leaders I would simply like to say this: If you want to be treated with the reverence and love that Madiba was, if you aspire to be seen as a hero of the people, if you want to be hailed as the father of a nation, may I suggest that you start with 27 years in prison.

As the world mourns the passing of a true statesman and a legend I want to address an issue that keeps rearing its ugly head here in South Africa.

There is a small minority of people who pop up on every social media site leaving comments about Madiba being a terrorist.  I'll leave you to guess the cultural background of this small group of people. For myself I get a bit tired of it and the racism that underpins this view, so here I'm going to look at this argument and expose it for what it is.

At a simplistic level (I use simplistic in the pejorative sense) Mandela was a terrorist by simple virtue of the fact that on 12 June 1964, he and two comrades were found guilty on four counts of sabotage and conspiracy to violently overthrow the government. Mandela had admitted the sabotage but denied the conspiracy to overthrow the government.  The rest as they say is history and Mandela spent 27 years in Robben Island and Pollsmoor prisons.

Taken at face value and without any context being applied to the political backdrop of South Africa from the rise of the National Party's minority apartheid govt between June 1948 until democracy in 1994, then Mandela's conviction as a terrorist seems complete.

However, this is far too simplistic!

8th Birthday Party

What a fun afternoon we had celebrating Eli's 8th birthday.

It was all very noisy and very messy. Everything an eigth birthday party should be.

Hopefully all the kids have gone home exhausted because we certainly are!

Eli can't wait to celebrate his actual birthday on the 21st now.