Merry Christmas!

Thank you for all the joy you’ve brought this year by reading, subscribing or commenting. Until I log back on, I’d like to leave you with a coach’s thoughts on The Christmas Story. I wrote it a few years ago when I was helping coaches develop the skills they’d need on their journey towards coach certification.


A Coaching Hallelujah ~

These past few days, I’ve been looking back over what I’ve done with my home life, my coaching and my writing since I started working online, taking stock of the year’s unexpected joys and challenges as well as the dreams I’ve had to let go of. You may not be a Christian or even celebrate at this time of the year, but please bear with me, stay open and join me in a coach’s exploration of a well known story.

Thinking about my abandoned goals usually leads to me moodling about George Bailey from the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’; this time I found myself wondering about Joseph. Were his dreams of a simple family life turned upside down when he heard the momentous news about Jesus? How quick was he to recognise the perfection in the situation or was he simply stunned for a while, following his own instincts as well as trusting the guidance given to him by a greater power? What we do know is that he was supportive and loving and that he didn’t give up and walk away when things got tough and scary. But in this story, it isn’t just Joseph who embodies the qualities that we can use to strengthen our work and enrich our lives.

Imagine in the dark, frosty crispness of night, a bright band of angels bursting into glorious song, the most perfect example of matching the radiance, joy and vibrational energy of the occasion. And what a triumph of clear communication and channelling too! In any choir – even the angelic kind – it takes all kinds of unique voices and a love of synergy, resonance and harmony to create the kind of soul music that fills you from your heart to your toes with amazing Aha!’s.

Imagine too the humanity of the shepherds, their hearts and minds filled with a tumult of human thoughts and emotions as they grapple with shock, overwhelming panic, awe and hope in the face of an astonishing new reality.  Then there’s the little shepherd boy, bringing his gift of childlike innocence, wonder and curiosity to the tableau in the stable. 

And while the shepherds remind us to love the simple dignity of our humanity, it pleases me to think of the hardworking ox and ass instinctively providing warmth with their bodies and their breath, standing there powerful yet still in the silence, breathing, looking on, listening, understanding…

I also like to think of the innkeeper (and his wife?) contributing practical solutions and resources – shelter, blankets, food, a jug of fresh water and directions to the well – all of this while bustling around, tending to an innful of guests, reminding us that people still need to have their basic needs met, no matter what life changing events are taking place. 

And imagine, silhouetted against the starry night sky, gliding along on camels, the three mysterious magi, following a shared dream, a vision, never stopping till they reach their destination and deliver their gifts. Gifts which remind us that value is subjective and that our skills and senses are to be cherished: gleaming gold, bringing with it the power to do great good if it’s used wisely and with compassion; frankincense, its heady, smoky fragrance evoking the power of holy places, prayer and contemplation; myrrh, the balm that reminds us to treat our bodies with love and respect and to tune in and enjoy and them while we can.  The three kings also bring the gifts of magic and mystery, wisdom and knowledge, intuition and synchronicity. They travelled together, sharing support, solidarity and resources on their long journey towards the unknown,  reminding us that if we remain open, alert and responsive, we have a lot to learn from the wisdom and experience of others, from people of all cultures and faiths.

But behind this rich tapestry and the birth of one special child, let’s not forget the tragedy that arose from Herod’s terrible personal agenda born of power and fear, his quickness to judge and his conviction that he was right. We all have the power to hurt or help each other, to react or respond, to forgive or let ourselves be consumed by fear, pain, bitterness, anger and overwhelm; but we also have the power and skills to ask the right questions.

And the answer to them all, the simple answer that glows like a hallelujah in the silence? Mary, serenely holding the greatest gift we’ve ever been given. Love. Pure, unconditional love.

Wishing you a season filled with miracles and love, wherever you are, whatever you believe in…


  1. Merry Christmas, Janice! I think of you often and pray that you are well.
    Thank you for this post and for all your other posts. I only just “met ” you when you stopped posting regularly and I am so happy I did. You have given me much encouragement through your writing. I want you to know that, Janice. You are a great coach.
    I hope that your Christmas is Merry and Bright with all that is true and lovely. Peace.

  2. I too have often wondered about Joseph. What an amazing man he must have been. So little is written, yet when we do stop to analyze his life, we realize what an example he must have been to the young Jesus.

    I’m glad you mentioned the shepherds too. Angels did not appear to the elite of the region, but the lowly and rejected. In their lonely hours they must have had occasion to contemplate many of life’s mysteries. A miracle happened to them because of their willingness to be humble and teachable.

    There is obviously so much more to the story than we will ever know, a fact that you develop very well in your post. Sometimes things appear to us only after taking the time to truly ponder, as you have done here.

    I will second Ciaran. You are a great coach Janice.
    .-= Randi´s last blog ..Birthday Blessings, Part 2 =-.

  3. Hi Janice – hope you’re having a lovely break and continue to recharge your batteries. Your point about Joseph should be highlighted more often – that he didn’t walk away, he stayed and supported.

    When I was singing carols – I realised what a wonderful source of adjectives, descriptive phrases that lead my mind out to new ideas ..

    How you draw out thoughts that are so valuable to us in this life from the Christmas story – are so well done.

    Enjoy your family time – be at peace
    Blessings for 2010 –
    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Mum and Hardwick – decking out the tinsel .. =-.

  4. Thank you, all of you, for your Christmas and New Year wishes, and for taking the time to read and comment on my Christmas post during such a precious and busy time. I hope you had a wonderful Festive Season.

    You’ve probably guessed by now that I haven’t been well – physically, creatively, spiritually or mentally – and have spent the last month feeling unable to log on. (My inbox, full of hundreds of unread emails, must have started sending ‘Inbox full’ messages.)

    I’ve never experienced nervous exhaustion before, but I suspect I was on the verge if not there already. Feeling like I was teetering on the edge of a precipice, all of my instincts screamed “Withdraw, focus on family, details and real life. Get centred. Recuperate. Recharge.” I felt like I’d given away so much of myself over the last year and a half that even my automatic pilot was on automatic pilot.

    As something close to indifference started to descend and wrap itself around me like a shroud of grey snow, I simply shut down, curled up and let go, unable to face much else.

    On top of feeling unwell, we had a series of events leading up to Christmas that would have been farsical if they hadn’t compounded what I was going through. They included a leak in the attic, a heating breakdown, emergency dentistry on Christmas Eve, no floor or furniture in the living room until a week before Christmas – due to a plumber letting us down – and weeks of being snowbound with sporadic Broadband.

    Not that I cared much about Internet access; I couldn’t face logging on and have let everyone down, not just subscribers, fellow bloggers and friends, but colleagues and friends I write columns for. I managed to post my Christmas piece when my nephew arrived and asked to see my site. When realised I had Internet access, I took a deep breath, took things one wee step at a time and posted as quickly as I could.

    I adore Christmas, and had been dreaming of using my blog to write Christmas pieces, share Christmas music, gift ideas and photos of what our home (normally) looks like over the festive season, but I decided that an old favourite piece was better than nothing.

    Because of the snow, my friend has struggled to get into hospital for her chemotherapy. That’s helped me gradually regain my sense of perspective. One day, as a few of us were digging the snow from her drive, I felt that if I could just keep digging and clearing until there was a way out, somehow, it would all be OK.

    I can’t promise that I’ll be able to post anything new for a while, but I just wanted to write this to let you know I haven’t forgotten any of you, taken you for granted or stopped looking forward to the time I can return to blogging and blog-reading & commenting with more balance and equilibrium. I hope you’ll bear with me.

    I know full well what I ought to be doing to take good care of myself, but engaged parenting, creative homemaking, caring for an elderly relative and always writing from the heart have temporarily distanced the theory from the practice.

    Bumps in the road are there to slow us down, but this recent one’s forced me into a ditch where I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on what I have to do to get back on track.

    I wish you a wonderful New Year, full of love, good health, prosperity, inspiration, creativity and everything you dream of. May the universe send you the signs and synchronicity you need to guide you. I hope to be with you again soon.

  5. Amen Janice. Amen. Amen. Amen.
    “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

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