Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve starts the same way as the previous two days; with coughing, snorting, sniffing, and the quick downing of two Cold-and-Flu tablets. Momentarily wonder why the box advises me not to take tablets for more than 48 hours, and yet provides me with enough tablets for 96 hours. Shrug, and head towards my seventy-second hour of doping.

Fortunately, the day improves from there.

“Blue” Christmas Service the night before went well. Only a dozen of us, a quiet service, but a meaningful one. I lit a candle for my stepfather and cried, but pulled it together to lead the rest of the service. Memories of my stepfather swirling through my head all day. Not in a bad way; just in an “I really miss you” way.

Parcel arrives from Linda in England, one of the Bossey students. There’s a thank-you card for the ordination gift I sent her, and a photo of Linda with the bishop who ordained her. Have my usual vestment envy looking at fully frocked-up Anglicans.

The ordination present I gave her was Dorothy McRae-McMahon’s Liturgy for High Days and Linda has included the orders of service for her Advent services, showing how she’s used Dorothy’s liturgies. And she’s sent me a Christmas present, a collection of House Blessings. All this makes me feel very happy.

Two Christmas Eve services of Lessons and Carols: 7 pm at Riddells Creek; 9 pm at Mount Macedon. Lorraine and Les from Romsey are my chauffeurs, given my inability to drive at night. The service at Riddells Creek is small; the one at Mount Macedon big. I open and close both with reflections stolen/borrowed from Dorothy McRae-McMahon and the Northumbria Community, and spend the rest of the service enjoying a complete lack of responsibility. No one asks me to sing!

After ending the Mount Macedon service I put on my Christmas hat, a present from two members of the Mount Macedon congregation. It is a black Santa hat, with “Bah Humbug” in flashing red lights. I confessed in my first Advent sermon that I dislike Christmas. Not the Incarnation – I think that the Word becoming Flesh is the most exciting story ever – but the hype that surrounds December 25; the consumption and emphasis on family togetherness. Lots of what makes a “traditional” Christmas is stuff the early Christians stole from the pagans. I, for one, am willing to give it all back. Hence my Bah, Humbug-iness, and hence my hat.

Get home at about 11 pm; no Midnight Mass for me. Think sympathetically of Father George. Take more Cold-and-Flu drugs. As I drop off to sleep I realise that I haven’t put out the sandwich boards advertising the time of the Christmas Day service. Groan; roll over; and go to sleep.

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December 27, 2007 - Posted by | Life, etc., Ministry

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