Over the past couple of days I can report that there have been a few moments when I've felt distinctly Christmassy. Most of them involved catching Hatti Gandhi's eye as she sang in the choir during the Nine Lessons and Carols last night...it is so good to have her home for the holidays, and back in the choir stalls too. But overall, I'm still waiting for the breathless eight-year-old style excitement that usually grips me this close to Christmas. I do hope that India hasn't spoiled me for something I'm usually unashamedly enthusiastic about. The tree is up at home, and there are candles all over the place,- which means you can see less of our familial mess in the twilight. There are some parcels wrapped and ready to place under the tree. I don't actually have to prepare that much more for church. So here I am, waiting for the reality to dawn. Perhaps I'll actually have to hang on till Midnight Mass this year - but that might not be such a bad thing.
Meanwhile, St M's did look very pretty by candlelight for the service last night. For the second year, we've invited people to "adopt" a candle in memory of someone, and so we have 37 named candles on every available surface, and the effect is really rather lovely,- lots of light and love in every corner. The blessed Biggles, (camera), sings a little song whenever switched on, so nobody dared to take photos during the service itself - but here's the tree, all by itself when nearly everyone had gone home. I love the church then,- it's so calm and somehow relieved to be sinking back into itself after all the anxious activity that precedes a big service. Despite the grim prognostications of some, holding the service on a Friday night saw no reduction in the size of the congregation, and many of them were "occasionals" - so we clearly met a need. What's more many of those leaving said that for them, the service had made Christmas real,- so there must be some hope!