In one jar are some well-washed stones, and in the other is sand. 'Mummy's finally flipped, ' joked Son 1, when he found me drying the sand in the oven this week. At least, I think he was joking...
So, is there a method in my madness? I think there is, and some of you may recognise what I'm doing, as I found the idea in a book a few years ago. At the time it struck me as interesting enough, but I didn't think I'd actually do it. But this year it seems very pertinent - it's interesting how things we learn may not become useful for a while...As you can see, these very pretty stones fit easily into the jar.
It's very easy to pour the sand in around them, and still shut the lid - everything fits.But the nature of sand and stones means that if I try to put the sand in first, the stones become ridiculously difficult to fit in - no chance at all!Ah, so here we have an Illustration. An Allegory. A Parable. These jars and their contents Are A Lot Like Life.They are particularly like Life in the run-up to Christmas.
The stones are to remind me of the things that actually matter in my life. For me, the three stones represent Love - love for God, love for Ben and the boys and love for my family and others. What else really matters?
The sand represents the pre-Christmas 'To Do' list - often fun, possibly stressful, mostly important, but not as important as the Love.
It all needs to get done, but it can overtake the real priorities as Christmas approaches...and the result is a life with so much to do that the Love gets left out.The beauty of the jars is that the 'To Do' list fits in perfectly well AROUND the Love, so long as practical expressions of that love are done first, or given priority.It's not about leaving the Christmas preparations, the housework and the job un-done, it's just about fitting them around the real priorities.