Sunday, September 01, 2019

That's it, to a T

"Make God laugh. Tell him your plans" runs the rather world-weary saying, which always suggests to me a vision of the Almighty that is, if not actively cruel, then at least not entirely compassionate. The implication is, of course, that any silly little hopes, dreams and visions we might have for our own futures are liable to be swept away at a second's notice in accordance with the vision of the God who can see all possible futures and knows which one we'll inhabit.
It's not inaccurate, I guess - but it isn't encouraging either.

However, sometimes God's sense of humour, played out in that same ground between our present experience and God's eternal perspective, is genuinely funny. Hence the story of the tee-shirt.

It all began last December when I realised that the season of staff Christmas parties was almost upon me and that I still did not have even the most tasteless of Christmas jumpers to call my own. This wasn't entirely accidental. I really do loathe them, - but I dislike being a "bad sport" even more, so, when an advert for Christmas sweat-shirts caught my eye, I decided that now was the moment. It helped, of course, that I really liked the design...a violin, viola, cello and bass, each instrument wearing a Santa hat and surrounded by falling snow. It was ALMOST tasteful and certainly appropriate for string-loving me, so I found my credit card and placed an order. Long sleeved. Black. Perfect to go over a clerical top for those unavoidable moments when you need cheese with everything.

Only, when the parcel arrived, what emerged was not black at all, - it was navy - and the sleeves were short.
Yes, the design was right - but otherwise, what I received was a short-sleeved Christmas tee-shirt. And, living in the English Midlands, I could think of few things that would be more useless, really...I mean, December is COLD! Even at the Bishop's Christmas hoolie...
But, December is also a rather busy time for clergy so I never got round to returning the garment, despite all my chunterings
 "What use is a Christmas TEE SHIRT in England? Whoever invented such a thing? Blinking idiots..."

The offending garment found its way into the tee-shirt stash beneath the bed and that, you might imagine, was that....Until, in July, I accepted an invitation to be part of this year's Greenbelt Communion service. And then I got my script, with the stage instructions encouraging us to wear Christmas clothes or whatever else might foster the concept of Christmas in August. And on the day itself, last Sunday, as temperatures soared breaking Bank Holiday records, I was so very very grateful that my only Christmas garment was short-sleeved, light-weight, perfect, in fact, for an August Nativity.

I'm not sure if even the writers had planned the Christmas theme when I'd ordered that tee shirt 8 months ago.
I certainly hadn't.
But someone had an idea that maybe a tee-shirt might come in handy after all.
I thought I heard a gentle chuckle as I set on last Sunday morning...

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