These last couple of weeks have marked my last university Christmas and what a joy it has been to share it with friends without being flooded out and sent home.
A big part of university is about learning and mostly from mistakes. But you know what they say, if at first you don’t succeed…. That’s why, this year, we brought Carols in the Castle back. We may have been flooded out last year by storm Desmond and lost all power but we weren’t going to lose heart mostly because we knew that no matter what had happened and what was going to happen, we certainly weren’t doing it alone. We were again stepping out in faith having doubled our budget and hired external companies to sort things out for us. Sadly, even with so much provision, it is still so easy to miss the blessings and get caught up in silly things. Somehow, no matter how many incidents of answered prayer you may experience, it is always easy to worry and doubt with little breakdowns and panic attacks when drowning under risk assessments, management plans and hundreds of copies of insurance. And all because you don’t make time for the important things and I’m not talking about sleeping and eating. Sometimes when it’s the night before and you have less than a third of the refreshments you need or you have to confirm the number of pencils you own, you can even start to doubt if it will even be worth it.
But I can assure you than God can use and multiply anything and every effort will be accepted. It baffles me how I can continue to doubt when 2 weeks before the event we were 2 grand down with 2 grand to go on our fundraising and yet less than a week later, after a lot of prayer, we were just £155 short, exceeding our target by the event itself. Or when, on the day, everything that needs setting up arrives, on average, three hours late and yet still gets all set up in time with minimal stress just one hour before showtime. But God is so good, we were definitely blessed far beyond what we ever could have prayed for. Light had gone with the evening, the cobbled drive was lined with lanterns up to the gate, the courtyard filled with the glow of fairy lights. Four choirs and a brass band all ready to bring Christmas cheer. Shortly after, as the service began, I turned around and the place was packed. I couldn’t believe it. Roughly 776 people had flooded in and stayed, standing in the open air for the service and four of them travelling approximately six hours each way for a surprise visit, my family. That’s 776 people that stood and heard the gospel that night and came one step closer to reason we all celebrate and I remembered it was far more than worth it. For once, I simply stood, belting out my favourite carols surrounded by the ones I love. It really was just a perfect evening.
Just a couple of days later I joined with my friends for a full three course Christmas meal in a posh hotel with all the trimmings. All dressed up to the nines and all the bangers in a classic disco. Once again, a fantastic night. On a quieter note, my friends and I trawled the Christmas market and we had five in a bed watching one of my all time favourite Christmas films with some of my favourite people. We ended the term with our big music society Christmas concert (and strangely enough, my first one in all three years) accompanied by the beautiful acoustics of the cathedral before the slightly less tuneful and dulcet tones of our annual caroling bar crawl at which few people play their own intended instruments but have great fun doing so. Finally, a last and classy night of tapas and cocktails to say goodbye ending on yet another truly fantastic evening, dancing late into the night. It’s the season to be jolly and I’m going to miss this bunch. I really do love Christmas. 🙂