We’ve just been to a the Christmas Carol Service at Christ Church on The Stray. I do love a good sing. A full choir – around 25 – 30 members with a full range. Being a special Carol service, naturally all eyes were on the choir and they didn’t disappoint. The carols ranged from the equivalent of smash hits – like O little town of Bethlehem (where the entire congregation joined in) to beautiful multi part harmony choral pieces that they’d obviously put a lot of work into the arrangement and delivery of. Some moving solos delivered some truly beautiful melodies which was then bolstered in turn by the organ, the rest of the choir, and the rest congregation.
The full house got right behind all the full congregation songs – myself included (I love a good sing song me). We were lucky enough to be positioned quite near the front – an acoustic sweet spot. The lofty ceiling of a church and general shape of the place gives the sound a unique feel – to be part of it is quite special. Being part of a big crowd, belting out songs with heart and gusto is special – whether it be in a church or, at a sporting event, or live band type music event.
A poignant address from the Vicar; the Revd Nicholas Henshall gave us all something to think about. How the idea of snow – a white Christmas might be a desirable thing for us in double glazed Harrogate but how it’s snowing in the Israel / Syria area right now – and that’s not likely to be a good thing for those poor people who are camped out under tarpaulin in makeshift refugee camps at the moment.
Nicholas – the afore mentioned Vicar is leaving soon. He’s got long hair and a good humour. I’m not a very regular church goer, but I’ve seen him a few times, and I’ve liked what he’s said. I like the way he says things – a very considered delivery. He’s not all fire and brimstone, he’s not all happy clappy. A good balance. He’s going up the ladder to be a Deacon somewhere I think. Eirene mused on what his replacement will be like. She likened it to when you get a new Doctor Who. You can’t imagine what a new Doctor Who would be like and how he could possibly replace the existing one, but after a while, you grow to like him as well. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
So yea – I do feel a bit Christmassy now. Christmas is more than a time to fill each others houses with plastic objects made in China. It’s a time for humanity. A time to reflect. The ex pagan winter solstice cum birth of Jesus celebration time of year, is when we almost instinctively turn to family and friend. We want to affirm the bond.
It’s perhaps an extension of that instinct that inspires one of the core Christian Christmas ethoi: “Peace on Earth, good will to all men”. It’d be nice if we could somehow, you know – sort that out wouldn’t it? Everyone knows the story of the 1914 WWI Christmas truce whose crescendo was a football match played between English and German troops in no man’s land. Wouldn’t it be good if.. if that could happen, but for a bit longer. Like, for ever. It’s perhaps naive of me to think that it would be a simple as that, but it is technically possible. I’m probably going on a bit now, but yea. Peace on earth, good will to all men. I like that bit, especially.