Thursday, 24 December 2015
As a child I loved Christmas Eve, the atmosphere, the unrealistic hopes, the dizzying prospects of what might be.
As one of four children in a family very close but also very impoverished I knew that most of my dreams were just that, dreams, but it in no way diminished my excitement on that special evening.
Over the years, varying experiences caused me to love Christmas less and less, until finally in middle age I regarded it as a break from work at best.
As I have blogged many times before, my Communist atheist upbringing did not include any part of the Christian view of Christmas time, but was still celebrated whole-heartedly as a secular event.
At the age of 75, a few months after my husband's death I found a new way of life was christened and confirmed and joined the choir of my local church.
Starting to sing again after a break of 24 years has produced some odd results.
Once a first soprano I am now an alto (not a mezzo) and am taking great pleasure from all the church music especially Christmas and Easter with its dazzling choice of lovely music.
Slightly less appealing for me is the fact that Midnight Mass involves my leaving the house at the time i would normally be going to bed. This year (today) I was not anticipating going out into the very strong cold wind at 11.00 pm but was otherwise happy about the prospect of this lovely service.
Just a quarter of an hour ago one of my lovely neighbours came and rang my doorbell.
"Are you singing in Midnight Mass" she asked, "if so we will give you a lift"
A small thing some might say, but for me, a massive difference in the way I view this evening's trip to church.
The greatest benefit to come from all my new experiences since I lost John has been the astonishing kindness and thoughtfulness of all my new friends, in church and most particularly, in the 'Close'.
In 2008 my mother died on Christmas Eve and a few months later I lost John, yet Christmas Eve, however tinged with sadness as it is, has brought a whole new meaning to my ;life.
Merry Christmas to you all.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 9:06:00 pm