Monthly Archives: December 2012

Wreaths of Smiles

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Christmas time, mistletoe and wine …

… When the kids start singing and the band begins to pla-a-a-y…

Christmas, eh? Nativity plays, carol singing, watching ‘Love Actually’ in front of an open fire wrapping Christmas presents. My Christmas was full of all this (minus the wine) starting with the band playing in front of Church before the service. In the service we had bells rang in the carols, presents shown at the front, hobby horses ‘neighing’ through the sermon, children crying through the prayers, but the main event came right at the beginning. And it was me. I was the chosen one.

All month, children had been coming up to the front of church to light the advent candles; a task I had never been chosen to to do. But, in actual fact all this had been preparation for one day and boy was it worth the wait. That’s right, I lit the Christmas day candle. Me and my best friend walked up to the front, ready to essentially, establish Christmas day. I took hold of the lighter and as I did so, for one moment, that tiny spark was the focus of the whole congregation. I guess that’s what it’s about though, for one day in the year, that tiny baby is the focus of so many all around the world. And I initiated it. That was when my friend ripped open the church advent calender to reveal the baby himself lying in the manger. In fact, realistically, Christmas day couldn’t have commenced without us. I even got a round of applause, to be honest, I think my church pity me, but we wont dwell on that.

Christmas day then did commence much like any other with eight people, four excited dogs and an excessively long game of trivial pursuit to finish it off. But when it comes to celebration, boxing day is where it’s at. On boxing day, no one stresses about the missing prawn vol au vents or forgotten pigs in blankets (which did significantly distress me on Christmas day), or worry about where people are going to sit or when dinner will be ready. No one minds searching through the mountain of shredded wrapping paper to watch, listen to, play with, read or wear presents from the day before. And somehow, it’s acceptable to spend the majority of the day in Christmas pyjama’s eating cake and mince pies for breakfast (well, not just for breakfast, we’ve got to finish them all up somehow).

And well, as far as Christmas is concerned, that’s about all, I only hope your Christmas was as lovely as mine 🙂

S.T.A.T.E part 3

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So the festivities continue and it’s been quite mad in our household in between baking and caroling.  So we’ve had quite a few more cake sales on the go to help the cause, but now of course to add to our usual collection of cupcakes, crispy cakes and cookies we’ve got Christmas brownies and mince pies. So about two weeks ago now we made just over forty pounds from some lovely church members selling our cakes in the church coffee room and about just over fifty pounds yesterday doing refreshments for a puppet show and we’re off to do the same again this afternoon. To prepare, my Friday was spent tackling the shops for ingredients which is a harder feat than it sounds at this time of year, followed by five ad a half hours solid baking in the kitchen. When you think about it, a fairly uneventful day for the end of the world. The again, we all knew the world wouldn’t really end, because at the end of the day, our God is a loving God; he would’t end the world the day before the strictly final. Anyway, I’ve even gone as far as taking orders for cakes now, so if you’ve got a sweet tooth, don’t hesitate to put your order in.

But that’s not the only thing we’ve been doing to help the cause. Just the other week we were up at the coffee room ourselves playing Christmas carols and raising thirty pounds. That was right before we went to Victoria country park to play more carols, then Sunday morning playing carols again, but this time in the back of a cowshed on a very festive farm. A slight change of scene then as we went straight on to play for a posh lunch somewhere with ‘powder rooms’ instead of toilets and soap shaped like seashells. Finally off to a rehearsal with another orchestra for a carol service at my own church. So that was one festive weekend but we all know “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear” and I think that’s the same whether you’re playing or singing. Not to mention we did go on to do a spot of carol singing in a local pub that Tuesday too, just to keep the Christmas spirit alive.

That’s when I got thinking what Christmas is really about. Ultimately, Christmas starts with Christ and that’s why I think it’s about all these things. It’s about putting in the time to make the cakes that will eventually help those much less fortunate. It’s about singing and playing to spread the Christmas joy and true message.  It’s about the joy you get when you give the perfect present to share the love, because to take a line from one of my favourite films “if you look hard enough you will find love actually is all around.” 🙂

Grace and Lace

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Yesterday, once again I got to share in the most special and important days of a friend’s life. From the vows to the rings, the speeches to the first dance, the food and the friends; spectacular. One of the loveliest days for one of the loveliest people. For someone I haven’t known for that long, I have to say every second’s been a privilege. As we waited in anticipation, the bride glissaded in like a genuine angel draped with grace and lace.

There were chuckles and cheers, laughs and tears throughout the speeches but I think my favourite part would have to be the dancing at the end; the sheer joy of absolutely everyone there and come on, what other bride would attempt the funky chicken in a wedding dress? (I’m not talking waving your arms about in a wing like fashion, I’m talking grabbing-your-ankle-head-banging-on-one-leg funky chicken). But just seeing the explosion of frolicking felicity in everyone after the bride and groom flitted and fluttered, pranced and promenaded, twirled and whirled their way into absolute bliss on the dance floor in their first dance as a married couple.

See, at a wedding it doesn’t matter. Everyone’s dancing, no one really cares what they look like and are quite frankly just having a good time. A bit like a recent concert I was in, where, lets just say, improvisation isn’t my strong point. We had choreography for one of our songs and well, not all of my actions were exactly the same as the rest of the choirs. But we all make mistakes (and I’ve been told mine were pretty big) but at the end of the day you’ve just got to get up and keep dancing. And I think that’s what you’ve got to do in life. I guess what I’m saying is that I hope this couple continue to always dance their way through their life…whatever happens. As we sang in the concert, “let’s celebrate, remember a year in the life of friends” because I think life should be a dance, enjoy it, and make it something you would want to watch 🙂