Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas is Coming

I love the final preparations for Christmas: the carol services, the Advent candles, the cards and greetings winging back and forth around the world. On Friday we had the Civic Carol Service in Stockton and the Mayor had bravely decided to start out of doors. So it was that at 1.30 quite a gathering could be found around Dodshon's fountain in the High Street. The Mayor and Mayoress of Thornaby were there, wearing the chains so recently returned to Thornaby, as well as a number of councillors and council officers. But more importantly, by the time the band struck up the first carol, quite a number of non-council people had braved the damp and cold to stand or sit and sing. Several people passing by stopped to join in for a few minutes including a lady who used to attend an English class I taught years ago. For the first time to my knowledge a "civic service" really reached out to the ordinary residents of the Borough in a way that didn't depend on special invitations. A brave choice and a right one from our Mayor, John Fletcher.
After 3 carols and some prayers we walked over to the Parish Church where even more people were waiting and there sang more carols, heard again the timeless story of the first Christmas and received the Peace Light - a reminder of the need for peace in the world and a sign that we can all do our bit. A light shared is a light that grows and spreads - it cannot be dimmed.
Then it was time to finish off the shopping and preparing the house for the arrival of grandchildren to celebrate a Christmas visit with us. This meant putting up the Christmas tree, usually a Christmas Eve activity, but done early to fit in with the festive mood of a family weekend. It was a joyful weekend with a gathering of nearly 20 of the family on Saturday - with ages ranging from 5 months to 91 years the house was alive with conversation and laughter. Presents were exchanged, news was shared and a good time was had by all.
Today was much quieter! Time to catch up on case work and bits that needed doing for the Fairtrade Directory which is now well under way at the publisher. There was even time to read the papers for tomorrow's committee meeting and mark up the questions to be asked. Council work continues right up till Christmas Eve, but the number of meetings reduces in this period as councillors and council officers take time off to to do what they want to do over the Christmas period.

No comments: