Friday, 19 December 2008

Busy but fun - and holy

I try to keep Friday as my day off - but it's been a vain attempt this month. Today has been spent largely in the company of the computer and the photocopier as I try to get on top of various service leaflets for next week. I'm having a break at present because the copier has just produced a first side run of Christmas morning's pewsheet so warped that I can't feed them back in for the second side run; I'm trying to flatten them with the aid of Young's Analytical Concordance and Pierre Chaunu on "The Reformation", two of the larger books in my library. But at last all the hymns and readings are chosen up to Holy Innocents Day, and there are piles of paper heaped on the study coffee-table waiting to be collated, folded and stapled into the newly re-vamped Christmas Eve Carol Service.

Tonight we have our annual concert by Leadgate Gleemen and St. Cuthbert's Handbell Ringers. Someone reported hearing a performance by an older group of Gleemen. When they said who one of the singers was they got the reply, "He's not one of the older ones. He's only 86!" Anyway, it's always good fun. And last year so many people kept turning up that we had to send out for more mince pies and mix extra mulled wine.

This follows on from this morning's Toddler Group Party with carols. Great fun - especially with all the sleighbells during Away in a Manger. There have been a couple of school services / concerts too. But the highlight so far is the Nativity Play put on by Kaydar, a local organisation which uses our Hall for part of its work with people with learning and other disabilities. And if there were proof that it's not just politically correct to call them "differently-abled" this was it. The Angel Gabriel was a real star (actually so was the Star - who guided angels, shepherds and "wise men" on their journey to Bethlehem). At first I was mainly concerned that the Angel didn't fall off our stage, but I need have had no fear. She had learned a full script which she not only voiced clearly for all to hear, but she signed it too ("She's deaf, you know," a member of the audience whispered to me) and issued stage directions with aplomb. Mary and Joseph knew just where they were supposed to be, and everybody played their part. The whole production was so fresh and beautifully delivered - and the audience not only clapped and cheered but was quite visbly and audibly moved. It's a pity that not more people could see it. But I'm glad I did.

As for the performance of "All I want for Christmas is you..." Mariah Carey, eat your heart out!

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