It's a funny thing, this whole Christmas pavlova. In itself it is a wonderful thing, hope-filled and hope-fuelled. We have Baybee Jeezuss, Lickel Donkay and Mairee and Joziff. We have many pies-a-mincing, much wine-a-mulling, considerable alpine trees-a-dropping, the prospect of a good number of under-cooked turkeys-a-poisoning, and much much more. I love Christmas, for all the right reasons, for how it makes me feel like a kid again, for the theological and scriptural stuff - Crimbo ticks all the boxes.
Until I step outside of my front door.
Only in December do humans turn into slavering animals. Only in December do ordinarily friendly folk turn, as if by magic, into red-eyes fire-starters. The fury in the High Street is palpable, where manners and decency are not, manifestly absent as they seem to be. Smiling folk are now grimacing folk. Oh the pressure we pile upon ourselves ...
But I am not immune, oh no. I was in a card shop in the very deliberate act of making a purchase of, well, a card, when I discovered not a single card with Baybee Jeezuss, or even a Joziff for that matter. I could have bought a ton of cards that celebrate that beast of yuletide - the Robin (not that a day throughout the year passes in my garden when I don't see them - which means that a card featuring a grey squirrel would be just as appropriate). This card shop was in the parish of this here religious blogger, Vicar, eejit. I WANT A BAYBEE JEEZUSS, FOOL! But rather than let those words slip out, I simply asked, in a wan wet English defeated way "Do you have any religious cards for Christmas?" to which the reply from a very solid looking woman was "No, mate". I left, when perhaps I should have jumped up on to her counter and mounted a protest and chained my Adonis body to her Epson till. Instead a frowned like a man retaining flatulence
I ought to say, though, that I have seen another side to Christmas this year, apart from that represented above. I have seen my little church full over and over in recent days. I have welcomed people back who had scarpered years ago. I have welcomed people who have never been before. The locals say that numbers are up, and that is great. But not as great as just sitting on my Throne and just reveling in being the Vicar for the first time at Christmas. I have hardly done a thing, the crowd have - but I am like a pig in mud at the moment. Christmas couldn't be any better than that (until I go home to be with the kids when it then improves even more).