On Christmas Eve we went to the midnight service – we wanted to go for a variety of reasons, probably. But I felt ready for the tingle and scent of some holiness – candlelight and mystery – and the warm retelling of the old story in a way that felt both familiar and remarkable and relevant. It didn’t have to be wonderful – not some peak experience besides which the rest of Christmas would seem pale and insignificant – but a little bit wonderful, maybe.
We were sadly disappointed. The church was warm and light – but too light for the lit candles to enlighten anything. There was no sense of the special or the spiritual. A bland, trite sermon that did not speak to either of us. Maybe for someone there they were the words they needed to hear, but I doubt it.
And so we found our Christmas elsewhere – in poems, in each other, in the red squirrels at Eskrigg and the birds in the garden. We always do of course – in places we look and also where we least expect it. We were sent from the church empty-hearted and that maybe made us more open to finding Christ and Christmas elsewhere almost everywhere else.