Church attendance for me comes under a banner marked 'must-do' for various occasions in life, with attendance at least one service per year is something of a three line whip. It is imposed to all direct descendants by my mother, and the lovely Festival of Nine Lesson and Carols attended these days by me and my brother. My sister is exempt on distance grounds, and the grandchildren are not in the county until rather later in the festivities.
This service does rather take one from the shopping bonanza that Christmas has become, to the spiritual, via comfortable family values - Queen's speech, Roses chocs, board games (or is that just us?).
So my thoughts whilst 'second chorister' is at the lectern reading 'The people that have walked in darkness have seen a great light' from Isaiah chap 9, is of childhood Christmases. An eccentric elderly great aunt staying meaning sharing a bedroom with a campbed and a sibling, Pomagne as the great treat; a buffet in the rarely-used front room with celery sticks in a mug, dipped in salt. A box of Rover's assorted biscuits; Lonnie Donegan on the gramophone.
And tonight in church, my thoughts ran to 'what Christmas means to me now'. The answer to which - and I'm not proud to admit this - is at least in part 'to be able to muck about doing 'stuff' in the day without feeling guilty about not being at the desk working'.
Not very holy, is it? *sigh.
But I have completed my week 51 challenge.