Friday, December 09, 2005

Beginning to panic

Lovely clear afternoon, so I thought I'd finally sort out the Crib Service...only 2 weeks to go, after all, and next week is pretty manic. The trouble is, I'm feeling distinctly pathetic, with the sort of sore throat that has turned me from a high soprano to a rather uninspired tenor, and a generous proportion of cotton wool where my brain used to be.
And I'm anxious,- anxious verging on terrified.
I'm anxious because, in a fit of enthusiasm, I suggested that it would be fun if children wanted to come to the service on Christmas Eve attired in tea- towels, tinsel crowns or whichever bit of the Nativity story they fancied. We do, after all, have a very beautiful baby in our midst, whose mother is very happy to wrap her up in a suitable shawl to play Jesus. It seemed like a good idea, truly it did, but what was just a gentle suggestion has become a huge selling-point, so that wherever I go I meet children full of excitement at the costume their poor long- suffering mother has put together for them. If only half of the children who've accosted me actually appear the church will be heaving,- and this service is usually pretty busy anyway.
Just yesterday at Little Fishes, a grandmother, who brings her granddaughter to us every week (determined that she will have some Christian input despite her mother's apathy) told me with pride that not only M's mother, but her best girlfriends and their partners, plus assorted inlaws and outlaws would be there.
And then it hit me.
My smallness set against the huge responsibility of not getting in the way of their encounter with God...indeed, of doing something to facilitate it, in a church packed with excited pre- Christmas children.
My head knows that it won't be anything that I can do or say that will give them that moment of numinous encounter...but where there should be a peaceful reliance on God revealing himself to them in whatever way he chooses, there is instead a whirlwind of churning "What if's" that threatens to engulf me and has already paralysed my creative processes.
I'd have a good scream, if only my throat weren't so sore.

PS I would love to hear any tried and tested instant voice restorers...I'm celebrating at 10.00, leading Evensong and supposed to be going carol singing with the youth group all onSunday ...and actually this villainous croak isn't terribly reassuring when making pastoral calls either!


peripateticpolarbear said...

You've done a great thing. It will be awesome. I went to a service with a similar activity with my niece years ago--and she still remembers it with joy (BTW, they had a pile of gold paper stars at the door ---big ones---to give out to children who didn't know and dind't have a costume--my niece was one of those kids and LOVED being one of the stars in the sky.) It doesn't matter how this thing goes off, it will be remarkable because you have allowed all sorts of people to participate in the story.

The voice thing---the best way to restore a voice (drawing on my voice major background) is to do 2 things: hydrate like mad (as in drown yourself in water until you're practically living in the bathroom) and rest it. Go on a vocal vacation--tell folks that you're resting your voice and just don't talk for a day or two. (Which might be a spiritual discipline all its own.)

Emily said...

PPB is right about hydrating and resting. Good luck with that second part, and remember that whispering is not helpful, either. Warm drinks feel nice on sore throats.

Ella Quint said...

Avoid caffeine, hydrate, don't talk, gargle salt water, turn your shower into a sauna. :)


ron said...

Kathryn, the service sounds absolutely marvelous...I'd love to be there.We have this christmas card image of the nativity scene...peaceful quiet...Hmmm, i don't think so. Can you imagine, the census, the town filled with close and distant relatives...crowded, noisy and parties. And in this messiness of humanity...Jesus is birthed. Your evening will be a blessing to all...and to Him.

Oh yah, my remedy for my sore throat earlier in the week was a bit of ground fresh ginger root, with a teaspoon of honey in a tea cup of boiling water.

My prayers are with you for your health...and your plans. Peace...Ron+

mary said...

Um... our church has done the "come as you like" thing for a few years.... but I can't tell you how it works (though I'm told it does) because I've never dared go! Perhaps this year.
I met the incumbent of the church where I'm going to do my placement this week - their new church opened last Christmas Eve and they planned for 50 at their Crib service - only to be overwhelmed by 350! And it was truly wonderful! And so will yours be. Amen.

Re the voice, my son swears by Vocalzone lozenges, so horrible they must be good for you.

Anne said...

Hydration for throats - inhaling the steam from a hot drink actually hits the right spot better than just drinking the drink (do that when it's cooled down a little!) - a tip from a voice coach we had when I was doing teacher training.

Liz said...

The best thing I've ever found for sore throats is zinc lozenges (you can get them at Holland and Barrett). They're brilliant for stopping a nasty one in its tracks before it turns into a yukky infection. Otherwise, gargling with salt water. Don't know about a voice but this might cure the underlying thing...

I enjoy reading your blog, by the way!

Sophia said...


Your idea for the service sounds REALLY fun! I think it is a wonderful way to help young children understand the story and feel like they are really a part of the service.

I think it will be a bit crazy but definitely not a disaster.

It's great that all these extra people who don't usually come to church are coming. So many people think of church as old, moldy, boring, and irrelevant - a service like this can help them rethink that belief.

Breathe, and feel better. It will be fine. :-)

Songbird said...

Kathryn, I always notice that my usually comfortably messy house looks horrifyingly filthy to me when I'm not feeling well. The things I need to accomplish for church seem as insurmountable as, well, great big mountains. Rest, drink, rest more, heal a bit--it will begin to appear as the gift that it is, to you and to the mother and her friends and certainly to the little ones with their tinsel and teatowels.

Teri said...

this sounds amazingly fun!

for your voice, if you still need it...I have always sworn by honey and lemon. Cover the bottom of a mug with honey. Squeeze a lemon into the mug. Fill with hot water. Inhale the steam, then drink while it's still mediumly warm but not scalding. And don't talk.

Good luck. :-)