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Blog: Holy Christmas

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Either side of our HOLIDAY this year The Routes On My Network and I did a LOT of bouncing around visiting relatives, which meant that by Christmas Day itself we had done EVERYONE and thus had the whole day to ourselves, so we could do whatever we wanted. It turns out that what we wanted was to go to CHURCH!

Our reasoning was thus: for the past several years we've always gone to St John's in Leytonstone (where we used to live) for the Christmas Carol service, but missed it this time due to the aforementioned holiday, so thought we'd give it a go on Christmas Day itself instead. This turned out to be unexpectedly BRILLIANT.

Our journey commenced with a 40 minute HIKE back to our old hood, arriving just in time for some milling about before the service itself began. I'd been to church a few times on Christmas day when I was little, and vaguely remembered it as taking AGES with everyone dressed up and being Quite Serious and STERN. St John's was NOT like that at ALL - if anything it reminded me of an INDIE GIG. Nobody seemed entirely sure what was meant to be happening, the main act was NERVOUS (it turns out that his DAD was in the audience, so maybe that was why), there were GUITARS, and the whole audience got to sing along. This latter was because there was no CHOIR to do the singing for us, which led to the congregation going for it with some GUSTO, even on the songs that most of us didn't know. Highlights included the vicar stopping the first song a verse early and the congregation all going "There's another VERSE!", him and his Dad having to have three goes getting the lights on the tree to come on when we all shouted "Let there be LIGHT!" (which I'm pretty sure is in the bible), the curate not being able to work the Powerpoint presentation that had all the song lyrics on, a crew of children with SHAKERS putting off the vicar and his pal on guitar and piano, and an extended metaphor about JESUS being one of the Mr Men.

We also got some CHOCOLATES halfway through (again, that's definitely in the BIBLE), said hello to each other at some length, and I had my usual Christmas Sniffle during "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" (NB reminds me of my NAN). I tell you what, if they put THAT sort of service on Telly Religion (rather than the TERRIFYING Midnight Mass of LATIN and INCENSE and TERROR that I'd seen 5 seconds of on BBC1 the night before) I reckon it would turn Church Attendance right round. I know it's made ME want to go more - to Christmas Carols AND Christmas Day!

posted 4/1/2019 by MJ Hibbett

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