Until Christmas

Blog Every Day in November is a challenge hosted by Elizabeth of Rosalilium a lifestyle blog.  Today’s topic is

Til Xmas

My favourite traditions for Christmas surround the music, worship, excitement, exchange of news from friends and the traditional Christmas food.

I remember a Christmas carol service from my childhood.  I think it was at the church in the next parish and it was crowded.  I was short and still am, by most standards.  All I could see when I stood up to sing were the winter coats of the people in the row in front of me.  But it was still exciting.

Now singing in the choir, I have the chance to see the faces of some of the congregation, unless it is a candlelight service.  Preparations for Christmas music may begin as soon as September.  There are other events to fit in meanwhile, with their own music.  Remembrance, Advent and all the Sundays in between need music too.

Singing to people is enjoyable.  In church we are very aware that we are singing to and for God.

As a teenager, I used to hold back when I was singing in church.  I was afraid of what God might require of me.  Now I have learned that what He requires is far better than what we could choose for ourselves.  I still do not always obey, but I aim to live in a relationship with God through Jesus and guided by the Holy Spirit.

I enjoy writing a Christmas letter, which I send to friends and relations in December.  I seem to send more letters than I receive, but I enjoy writing and I know that others may not.  It is interesting to read all the news.  Sometimes there is sad news and a personal letter or phone-call is needed.

All the events leading up to Christmas including a Carol concert (followed by a mumming play) and carol singing in various places round and about involve food.  One tradition in Britain is the mince pie.  We have two food-related meanings for the word mince.  It may mean minced meat, particularly beef.  At Christmas it is a sweet mixture containing dried fruit, sometimes nuts, suet and spices.  It is spooned into pastry tarts, a pastry lid is added and pricked and there is a mince pie waiting to be baked.  Other Christmas treats include Christmas cake and Yule logs.

We also decorate real or artificial Christmas trees.  I enjoy doing this.  Our tree is artificial, but green.  Some are silver or whatever the latest fashionable colour is for Christmas.  I have chosen red, gold and silver-coloured baubles and we have other decorations, which we have collected over the years.  There are fairy-lights as well.  We also have a traditional disagreement about whether the lights go on first or last!

On Christmas Eve we go to church for the midnight communion service, which begins before midnight.  There is a special atmosphere as village residents and their Christmas visitors gather to celebrate the birth of the saviour of the world.  It is usually a candlelight service.  The final hymn is, “O come, all ye faithful” and it is the one time we sing the final verse, “Yea Lord, we greet thee born this happy morning”.

We go home to bed and on Christmas morning we prepare the traditional Christmas dinner.  In our house we serve this at lunch-time.  We open the presents which have been piled under the Christmas tree and we speak on the phone to family members who are not present.

It is a time for families, but it is not a good time of year for travelling long distances, so we may not see any or all of our family members who live away at this time of year.

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