of post-India reflections to report on the sheer madness of Advent Sunday at Charlton Kings.
I loved presiding at the 10.00 - can't think of a better way of reconnecting with the congregation here, and the Advent Carol service last night was blissful too...Standing in the darkened church listening to the Palestrina Matin Responsary produced the annual goose-pimples, and Wachet Auf made me believe that maybe, despite my most Scroogelike inclinations, Christmas might be worth looking forward to.
However, I discovered rather late in the day that in their eagerness to make me feel needed, my colleagues had left the Christingle service for me to sort as I saw fit. My confidence in this strange annual rite was not at its highest level, after I had tried to explain the concept to my Indian friends, in a conversation that reminded me mostly of the Bob Newhart sketch about Walter Raleigh and tobacco ("then you put it in your mouth and set fire to it???!") ...
"You take an orange and stick sweets in it..."
Somehow, the whole thing felt increasingly fatuous, before ever we got the stage of building a human Christingle (thanks, D) and (oh deary dear) singing "Shine Jesus, shine" but the crowds leaving the church at the end of the service seemed to have enjoyed themselves, and there were lots of comments today about the atmosphere and the "Ahhh" factor of small children by candlelight. I guess I'll just have to accept that I've left a part of myself back in Karnataka, and adjust to the novel feeling of half-wishing I was somewhere else even as I rejoice in being with my friends and family once more.
Meanwhile, if you are one of the three people who saw me this morning pushing a supermarket trolley (complete with wonky steering, of course) laden with Christingles through the streets of Charlton Kings en route to the playgroup and didn't fall about laughing, I'm deeply grateful.
The rest of you can form a committee to plan next year's service, OK?