I heard that word three times this morning: picking up extra stocking presents that were superfluous to requirement, I was aware of my head screaming ‘stop’.

Then, as my soup got cold and my toast soggy, my husband said multiple times ‘stop doing the stuffing and come eat’.

Then, my mum told me on the phone to stop and remember what Christmas was really about. Hmm.

Of course, I did not heed anyone. This Christmas craziness just invades my head, monopolizes my time and steals my sleep. And I know I’m not the only one. I actually said to someone today, ‘all I want to do is sit on my sofa, have a cup of tea and answer to no-one.’

Clearly I was deluding myself.

I picked the picture above because the stop sign is hard to pick out from all the busyness around it. For me, that’s what this time of year is. There is no rest, no ‘all is calm’. Our days are as head-achingly busy as the most psychedelic Christmas tree, our bank accounts as weighed down as Santa’s sack.

I wonder if the only thing that can say ‘stop’ and get our attention is a manger, with the Creator of the Universe lying in it, as a baby.

I’m going to drop all my to-do lists for a moment now and just be


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