We might have been exhausted from Messy Advent, but there wasn't going to be a chance to breathe as the laws of the universe dictate that Sunday follows Saturday and that if you have made several dozen Christingles at a craft workshop, then you really ought to have a Christingle service.
Before that, though, there was quite alot of water to flow under bridges
The 8.00 Prayer Book Communion had a moment of pure joy, which isn't mine to share, but which started the day off with a happy glow for the vicar...Then our new Advent Eucharist booklets went "live" at a United Benefice service at Scout Hall on the Hill. It's lovely the way being exiled from the church building seems to be creating new levels of warmth and friendliness among the congregation, and this was a happy service. I even dared to suggest that, when it came to the Peace, this resolutely NO PEACE HERE congregation might actually turn and smile at their neighbour, and several did just that. I've promised that I won't impose the Peace upon them (it would only be counter-productive, anyway - as an enforced Peace is not an expression of love shared but of duty done)...but this seems an acceptable compromise.
Normally lunch time sees me in a weary but relaxed heap on the vicarage sofa for the Office of Prone, but today relaxation was just not going to be part of the picture. Church in the Valley had not had an Advent Christingle service for several years, and in the place allotted to it by my predecessor (Candlemass) it had simply not drawn in non-church families...so I'd decided to try returning it to Advent 1. But would anyone come? For no particular reason (other than sheer Kathryn-ness) I had decided that this was a Very Important Measure of the "success" of my ministry so far (yes, I can see all the holes in that ...but I'm committed to honesty on this blog!) and one or two people in the parish had intimated that I would be being watched this Advent & Christmas...Result - a completely neurotic vicar, who (in a mad echo of curacy days, when each OpenHouse service began with shrieks from the curate that "THis month, really, NOBODY is going to come!") as people trickled gently into church found herself pathetically grateful for every single child as they appeared.
Particular gratitude was inspired, though, by the sight of my dear friend Marcella, her delightful god-daughter (who still seems willing to throw herself on me with hugs and squeals, despite my absence from her life since April) and her brother - whose appearance from Ch K could not have been more encouraging.
In the event, of course, people did indeed turn up...We were comfortably full, the restored giant Christingle shone happily and the circle of children with Christingles reached around the church in a manner guaranteed to warm the vicar's heart.