dawned with alarming speed (as is the way of things if you reach home at 2.00 a.m. and have to wake in time for stockings before the 8.00 Communion) but with such pleasure that bleariness soon departed. The 8.00ers were full of good cheer, and I was relieved to hear that the one or two whom I'd feared might be on their own were in fact all sure of company for the day.
Rapid breakfast before the Parish Eucharist: my turn to preside and traipse around merrily in a cope, amid clouds of rosa mystica. Simon and Rebecca, 2 of our new communicants, were acolytes for the first time and shone more brightly than the substantial candles behind which they might have disappeared...pride and joy are the words that spring to mind.Again, numbers were good. Though this seemed to be the year when many of our regulars were elsewhere, they were replaced by crowds of C and E attenders .I was hugely aware of the privilege of being part of what was perhaps the only intentional connection with God's church that many would have all year. To be able to place the Sacrament in so many hands and say those words to people for whom they're not necessarily a part of life to be taken for granted...wow! Have I ever told you before how much I love my job?!
Happy pandemonium at the Family Service- even though the relighting candles on Jesus's birthday cake were a bit of a failure. From my point of view, one of the best parts was seeing those child-free adults who'd opted for Short and Informal as their window onto Christmas worship joining in the impromptu percussion accompaniment to "Come and join the celebration" and grinning broadly as they did so. No compulsion whatsoever,- they really did want to.
By the time that congregation had departed, WonderfulVicar and I were about ready for bed - but since we'd seen over 1000 come happily through the church doors in 24 hours, a bit of exhaustion seems a very small price to pay.
Of course, bed didn't happen as I un-collared, put the curate away in a cupboard and turned into 100% uncompromised mummy on holiday for a week...and that was just lovely. Not having a turkey was one of the best decisions we've made as a family for a while - instead of spending the whole afternoon in a state of torpor, I not only enjoyed eating lunch but was happy to stay awake amid the excitement of present opening. The greatest pleasure was probably seeing HG united at last with the harp she has longed for for a good 15 years. It is so lovely to be able to make things happen for your children,- and there was lots of that sort of joy to be had this year.