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Blog: Winding Down For Christmas

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I'm familiar with the way that MUSCLE MEMORY works - if you do something enough times then your HUMAN BODY works out how to do it without bothering the BRANE - but I never realised it worked on an ANNUAL basis too.

This year, for the first time in EVER, I'm not at school, college or work, and so I don't have any kind of official Christmas Break to prepare for. However, although I am consciously aware of this fact the rest of my BEING refuses to accept it and so is remorselessly Winding Down For Christmas.

I haven't even got to do an Out Of Office Auto-Reply, and yet every time I look at my list of Things To Do I think "NAH, I'll leave that to the New Year." As I sit here at the kitchen table typing away I keep looking over at the telly thinking "I could watch that instead - the boss" (me) "is getting a bit Christmassy, it'll be FINE." I'm already mentally preparing for Wednesday lunchtime when I fully expect the boss (me) to come round the office (kitchen) saying "It's Christmas! Go home" (here) "early!" (now).

It's all a bit confusing, and likely to get more so now that I am in full-on CHRISTMAS mode. This was ceremonially switched on yesterday when The Congregation In My Pews and I went to CAROLS in Leytonstone. We've been doing this for years as it is LOVELY but this year there was a hint of NOSINESS as we knew there was a New Vicar. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't one of those fashionable new Lady Vicars, and then DISCOMBOBULATED when it turned out to be a YOUNG vicar instead. I've almost made my peace with footballers, policemen and MPs being younger than me, but Vicars? That can't be right, surely?

Apart from that the whole thing was GRATE - we sang all the HITS, the lights were beautiful, there was a HORN SECTION, and it reminded me what I like most about the Church Of England i.e. it is a MESS. All the way through the service there was a RACKET of scraping chairs, coughing, screaming children, babies crying, conversations and tellings off, sometimes getting so loud that it all drowned out the feedback-riven PA that the vicar was talking through. The (dead good) choir shared the stage with a bunch of kids shaking shakers, the aforesaid HORN SECTION and some schoolchildren on double bass and keyboard. The sermon (or "talk" as listed in the programme) was a mixture of STAND-UP and HARD THEOLOGY, and the prayers were all mushed up with pretending to light the huge tacky/gorgeous Christmas Tree with a CANDLE. It was a fine example of Disorganised Religion.

The best bit, as ever, was in "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" when my BRANE suddenly flooded with memories of all the other Christmases I'd sung it, at school and with family, and I had my traditional Christmas Cry. It felt like Christmas had properly begun, a feeling only increased when we popped over the road to The Red Lion, a BRILLIANT pub which we hardly go in now that we don't live near it. There was warmth and chat and beer and decorations and it was all round DELIGHTFUL. How am I supposed to concentrate on my work after all of that?

posted 22/12/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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