Behold the Angel of the Lord, pine cone style. I got ever so slightly carried away the other day during my tree painting session. As you can see, PC Angel has joined the shepherds – and a rather scarey looking sheep – in the Miffy nativity scene. Ms Miffy has vetoed my plea for biblical accuracy and the addition of sundry other angelic beings of a horticultural persuasion. Spoilsport.
At Newchurch the other night, I thoroughly embarrassed myself during ‘Gabriel’s Message.’ I’m used to it being sung by choir only, not congregation. Hence the inevitable ‘mistake’ during the first refrain. I didn’t do it on purpose, honest!
I discovered that in some places when a service is billed as ‘Carols by Candlelight,’ it means just that. All the way through. None of this wuss like blowing them out after a couple of verses of ‘Once in Royal…’ Nursing your candle on its cardboard holder in one hand whilst balancing your songsheet in the other concentrates the mind wonderfully. And I never before realised just how long the Magnificat is when it’s sung and you are trying to perfom the delicate operation of twiddling your candle upwards to gain a little more length without setting your neighbour on fire in the process!
Who would have thought that somebody’s been reaching Musings via a search for It’s a Lovely Day for Snowmen . Not only that, my description of the Miffy contribution to the world of Haute Couture comes top of the googlesearch for same. I’m flattered. No, really. It’s nothing. 😀 Just leave the flowers over there, please. Yes? What was that? A cheque will do nicely, thank you!
On a more Adventy Why Are We Waiting themes of judgement bit, The End is (almost) nigh, in a typical disorganised Miffyesque kind of way. Our well brought up turkey and organic veg are on order, not-so-little M has returned home from his educational establishment and his sister should be back from hers this weekend. Miffdog and I posted the last of the snail mail Christmas cards this morning. Presents? Come tomorrow morning I shall spread my current haul out on to the bed and play that time honoured traditional pre-Christmas game: See What You’ve Got And Try And Match It Up To The Intended Recipient. Then panic. And of course, there’s the little matter of (Young Offspring Anti Seasonal Trauma Alert) gathering the wherewithal for the nocturnal visitation to one’s abode by a certain hirsuite and rotund gentleman of indeterminate years and costume of tomato-like hue. Yes, the fact that the Miffy offspring are aged 18 and 22 respectively and that poor HRGIYCTLH often has to set his alarm to wake him up so that he can do the dirty deed in the wee smalls after they’ve staggered in from the pub or party is neither here nor there. (End of Young Offspring Seasonal anti trauma alert). No wonder we’re hardly in fit state to Awake and Salute The Happy Morn after all that. (HRGIYCTLH’s favourite tipple is a nice Crabbie’s or Stone’s ginger wine, by the way, in case anybody wants to know).
My timing on another, sadder ending has been equally Miffylike. Announcing that I’m leaving our local church in the week before Christmas isn’t maybe demonstrating the best of timing, but then, I don’t think there ever is an ideal time for this sort of thing. I’ve certainly discovered that there’s a difference between a planned, semi-official exit when you say goodbye properly (Two families including ours left my previous place at the same time; both in part due to house moves) and well…just fading out. Though to be honest, I think I left emotionally and spiritually, months, if not several years ago. Is there an etiquette to Church Leaving? I don’t know. As the place I’m likely to join is in a neighbouring parish (last time round I changed countries!) it’s a weird feeling given the likelihood of bumping into folk from the old church.
It’s hard. Very hard. However, I know it was the right move . My ‘last’ visit on Saturday night was to sing with the choir in a great concert – (I had to fight to stop myself coming over all unecessary during ‘Ding, Dong Merrily on High!’) which is a lovely way to remember the place. Then my fellow prayer triplees? Triplettes? (Sounds like a 50’s singing troupe!) enjoyed a nice lunch out this week, and we shall keep on ‘trippling,’ so it’s not all gloom. I guess the best attitude to adopt is that suggested by one of our ‘Seabirds,’ to think of the whole business as not leaving after ten years, but rather, moving on after growing through ten years.
Which reminds me. Talking of ‘Ding Dong Merrily,’ here’s yet another Venn That (Christmas) Tune courtesy of Youthblog. You know, I could just get to like this mathematics lark. And that really is a miracle!
I’d intended to post something really deep and meaningful this morning. However, you’ll be relieved to learn that sychronicity/aka The Almighty/Commonsense intervened, so you’ll have to make do with this inspired snippet gleaned via the Diocese of Oxford’sYouthblog instead. I’ve not got a mathematical bone in my body, but what the heck – it’s Friday! Let’s Venn That Tune!
This weekend, to the person on board ‘The Ship’ – my long-time source of subversion and saver of sanity – who pointed me towards the great ‘Bible Non-stop thread, just as I was despairing of ever managing to get out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land. Strictly speaking, I’d not yet arrived in Egypt at the time, given that I was ploughing my way through Genesis. For those who are unfamiliar with this blog, I’ve been doing a distance learning theology course for so long now that I’m a close contender for Jack The Lass’s title of Maturest Student In The World; and have just started my penultimate module: an Old Testament introduction. When it comes to making heavy weather of things, the Children of Israel are as nothing compared to Yours Truly. I’d have been right down there melting down all my trinkets and manufacturing not just a calf – but an entire farmyard – before poor Moses had had a chance to descend the mountainside. With or without tablets. So The Ship’s version had such an emetic effect that I managed to get through about eight chapters in barely an hour! Murder, mayhem and all the trimmings! They’ve even managed to brighten up some of those endless genealogies: the type of which strike fear into the hearts of even the most confident reader/lectors. Three cheers for The Ship, I say!
Sorry? What was that? Background reading…ehrm?? Oh well;it was worth a try!
Here, for your delectation, is the Miffy household ‘proper’ Advent calendar, still in one piece after 20 or so Christmases. It’s survived two house moves, along with the decorations and the ‘Santons de Provence’ crib figures. And not a chocolate in sight!
It’s the first Advent season Mr M and I have had minus fledglings. After the best part of 22 years, life is no longer governed by school reports, carol services and concerts. We have a dog- sitter instead of a baby-sitter, and a certain bearded gentleman with ample girth has to set the alarm to wake him up in the wee small hours after said offspring have staggered in from pub and parties. It’s strange. We’re feeling rather old and decrepit all of a sudden. As our bishop says in his nifty, handbag-sized Advent book cum calendar: ‘Do Nothing, Christmas is Coming’ – there are four stages of Christmas:
You believe in Father Christmas
You don’t believe in Father Christmas
You are Father Christmas
You look like Father Christmas.
Or Mummy Christmas in my case. No, no beard yet. (Stop sniggering over there!). Though being practically menopausal and all, anything’s possible, I suppose.
Never mind. At Mr Miffy’s urging, we’ve bought the book and so far I’m right with the Bishop re some of his suggested ways of slowing down: ‘Prune your Christmas card list.’ Yup! ‘Choose one book that you love and send everyone a copy.’ Could be a tad expensive if Mr M decides to give everybody a copy of the latest Delia Smith. ‘And with all the time you’ve saved, put your feet up for an hour!’ Yes, yes, yes! Now, does it say anything about use or non use of the dreaded chocolate Advent calendar? I’m ashamed to admit, that after years of being a killjoy when the children were little, I’ve come round to giving these housespace. Actually, I’m embarrassed to admit, we went out and bought one to keep all to ourselves! (Oh the shame!). It’s hung up on our bedroom wall, and the beloved and myself are taking turns to open the picture window and the chocolate window. (Sounds like something out of ‘Playschool, doesn’t it?). I shall, of course, be keeping a close eye on any nocturnal ramblings on Mr M’s part. No sneaking out of bed at crack of dawn and pinching my choccies!