I think I may stay at All Saints for the rest of the weekend. I'll just bring my sleeping bag and inflatable mattress in .. it's a lot warmer here than it is at home plus there wouldn't be that annoying bit of "being outside" that's so teeth shatteringly chill.
On the plus side there have been a few less arguments at home this week, mainly because my mouth is so frozen I can barely open it enough to disagree with anything. On the other hand there have been chilly looks passed between us that rival the outside temperature! I've mentioned before that my husband seems to be going deaf but I swear he can hear me turning up our thermostat from Alaska.
I had an interesting conversation this week. A lady came and sat beside me while we waited to go on stage at a Christmas concert and told me she does not enjoy Christmas, she's going to disappear off to Australia for the next month and do something completely different. On the other hand I've had a few phone calls here at All Saints asking the following "is the Christmas Eve service traditional? Will we know the songs? You don't try and modernise the carols do you?" The two attitudes seem to highlight the way I suspect most of us feel. A pull away from the unrealistic expectations presented to us of what Christmas should be - lots of entertaining, friends and family gathering together, perfectly wrapped, expensive gifts that are exactly what was hoped for and are received with delight. No wonder so many of us feel as if someone has picked out the parts of our lives we are not so happy with and shone a VERY bright (festively coloured) light on it. For some of us Christmas feels like a very empty box covered in glitter. Again and again we return to open the box, each time hoping to find something different within, and each time experience the same sense of loss when the box is somehow even emptier than before.
Boxing Day is a hideous thing. In days of yore (I just really wanted to get that word in at least once this year) Boxing Day was the day the Lordly masters delivered boxes of food and treats to their tenant farmers but now it's just ... awful. The worst day of the year! The realisation that all that planning and waiting and work is now just an overstuffed recycling bag and a million different voices telling you to buy yourself more happiness at the mall. The empty box is a bottomless pit on Boxing Day.
Only ... it's not is it? The vacuous box reflects the empty tomb as the victory over death is won, the overstuffed recycling box the promise of salvation for ALL and the empty wallet our complete dependence on a God of second, third, fourth and fifth chances and a chance to expose the dark parts of our lives that need to see the Light of the World.