I was taught that in the days before clean drinking water, the west went for beer and the east went for tea.

“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap.  For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.  Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36

“squandering … drunkenness … worry … “

Today, the 1st December, is Advent Calendar day.  A daily treat.  I have two this year: one from Mrs Paul made-up with little gifts, and one being a shop-bought peanut butter choco daily treat (other brands are available).  Yummy!

I was taught a lot of guilt in being a Christian … is an advent calendar ok – and is an advent calendar x2 (given to me without any prior knowledge) “squandering” and “excessive” … and what do I do other than “worry” about all that guilt … WOOPS!

If the squandering and excess don’t get you, the worrying will!

I was also taught to assuage my guilt (and worry) by donating the equivalent cost to charity – or shoe-boxes – or whatever the current giving-fashion.  “Guilt-offsetting” – like carbon-offsetting.  Both repair my selfish-squandering-worry – both balance the transaction of squandering and leave me conscience-pricked free.  Result!!

Guilt is transaction. Like conditional love. Like sin. Like original sin.  Like so much in being a good Christian.  Because to be “good” you have to count.  And to be “good” you have be in the top half of the counting percentile.  And to even qualify you have be “a Christian”.  In which case Advent is not about chocolate but about preparation for the birth of the Son of Man in 24 days.

We have four children.  During each of their births we were so knackered we were hoping “today” would be the day.  Day after day.  And when “the day” decided to arrive, simply overjoyed this new life was born safely for both child and mother.  A cup of tea and a bit of toast for afters was as racy as it got!

And now as grandparents?



This was us sitting outside their house (it was a home-birth) reluctantly deciding not to intrude (when they had texted that there was a fifth grandchild on the way).  The ambulance suggested a birthing busyness still in progress and we (reluctantly) decided we would just be a selfish distraction! 

I think we had a cup of tea that night when we got home.  Racy!

Not much has changed since the words in Luke were spoken and then written.  We still have the choice to live in the moment and appreciate how rich “the moment” is.  Or we can drown our sorrows with regrets over yesterday and worry the hell out of what tomorrow will bring.  It seems to me that NOT living in the moment is squandering the gift of life we have all been given.  That NOT living in the moment is worrying about stuff that did happen – or should have happened – or might happen – or might not happen (but should).  And (in the moment) NONE of that is going to make any difference – no matter how much we worry or squander or get drunk.

The moment is my choice.

And as for those tasty calendar treats …  Thank you Mrs Paul and thank you daughter and son-in-law!

Life is good!




2 thoughts on “Guilt-offsetting

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