Observing the Kalendar
After jaunts and gifts and family reunions; after eating and drinking enough in two days to sustain us for a normal week; after uncertainties and travel and weather worries - after all that, the rhythm of our lives reasserted itself with the Eucharist this morning. This year, the Kalendar permitted the celebration of the Epiphany on what I was thinking of as Christmas 2, despite its still being four days away. The church was still looking lovely (though we didn't manage to light the East window candles) and the Advent Wreath candles have all so far survived, demonstrating how calm the weather was for most of Advent and therefore how draught-free the church was: there's nothing like a good draught to make a candle burn down. If you look carefully, you can see the Holy Family still in place under the altar, with a camel sticking its nose in at the door and a Wise Man lurking between the pillars on the left ...
And you may well think how strange. For it started me off again on a train of thought I've had this Christmas season, concerning the attitude of people who say, with complete confidence, "Oh, Christmas is for the children". And the irony might well be that today, for instance, there was one child in the church, a visiting toddler whose mother was briefly attached to the Sunday School some years ago, who was building castles with wooden blocks at the back of the church and knocking them down again. Everyone else apart from his family was on the old side of middle aged. And what I know about the accoutrements of Christmas in a church like ours - and in our homes as well - is this: we do all this preparation, we throw ourselves into anticipation, all of this is for the child in each of us. Not the child that has reached the age of cynicism and worrying about self-image, but the child that has learned wonder and delight and the enjoyment of surprise and of goodwill. And those whose inner child has survived the passing of the years are the lucky ones - not naive, not deluded, but still capable of unfettered joy.
(There's a lot more where this came from, but that's for another day - maybe a look at actual faith as opposed to popular misconceptions?)
Oh - the service ended with Himself playing his amazing riff on We Three Kings; he does it every year and today people applauded. Joy again ...
Normal service resumed itself with a walk in Benmore Gardens in the afternoon. We met the robin at the Andean Shelter and wondered at the great quantities of lichen on the trees. And then we came home, pulled off our sodden clothes, and once again ate an unfeasibly large dinner.
That last cannot become normal service!