In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
Hello, thank you for dropping in. It's a busy time, isn't it? There is so much to do in this last week before Christmas. I have found it difficult to get into the festive mood, for several reasons. I think it's partly because we have a number of family birthdays in December, the last one falling today, and so I could never feel ready to fully concentrate on Christmas until the birthdays had been marked. It's also because a few years ago, the Best Beloved told me that he hates Christmas and that his favourite day of the whole year is Boxing Day because it means that there are 364 days to go until Christmas! This news was like a dagger through my heart because, you see, I loved Christmas: the music, the lights, the bustle in the high street, the festive television programmes and theatre visits, the carol services, nativity plays, the decorations, the all-round jollity. So now I tread on eggshells around him for the whole of December, not talking about the choosing of gifts or the writing of cards, wrapping while he is out, going to carol services without him and recording festive television programmes to watch secretly very early in the morning while he is still asleep. Last week he dropped the bombshell that he enjoyed Christmas last year and I pointed out to him that his mother died last December so we didn't listen to any Christmas music, watch any festive television or films or attend any carol services and kept the whole thing very low key. Great Big Sigh.
However, I have now heard my Christmas word and I am ready to sparkle. I often say that for me, Christmas begins when I hear the word "Quirinius" and usually, that is the Sunday before Christmas. After all, when else do you hear the word "Quirinius"? The quote at the beginning of this post is, of course, the beginning of the story of the birth of Jesus as told in the second chapter of the Gospel of St Luke and is probably read at every carol service in Christendom. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy and tells me that Christmas is nearly here. I heard it on Sunday evening in a candlelit Victorian chapel at a lovely ecumenical carol service organised by all the Christian churches in my community. I heard it again last night at another, very special carol service - I do love a carol service!
Back in April I visited St Bartholomew's Church in Moreton Corbet and wrote about it here. A young friend of mine who plays in a brass band read my post and told me that every year, on the Monday before Christmas, the church holds its carol service with mulled wine, mince pies and...the brass band. I wrote it in my diary then and there and determined to go this year. I have to tell you that The Mathematician and I had a wonderful time. The wine and the mince pies were warm, the brass gleamed and twinkled, the candles flickered, the church was packed to the rafters and the singing was lusty. When the preacher talked about the Christmas shopping and preparations and asked the rhetorical question, "What are we doing it all for?" a very small child at the front immediately answered, "For Jesus," and hearts melted. When I visited in April I wrote that I had little sense that this church was a House of God but last night, as we sang about Glory to the Newborn King in the candlelight, I changed my mind.
I took some photographs - please excuse the quality, the lighting was low and the heaters, set high on the columns, gave out a red glow, so I'm afraid the pictures look warm and fuzzy, but then again, that is exactly how I felt.
See you soon.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x