Snow gone and Christmas anticipated

Hello everyone!  It is lovely to see the green of the grass and be able to walk easily along the pavement, now that the snow has completed disappeared almost over night!  My beloved has been able to venture out again, much to his relief.  Last week I tried to help my beloved to come out for a short time to our favourite local café, Café Culture, but the cold (at that time minus 1) had an immediate detrimental effect on him; he had to abandon the attempt immediately as he was afflicted by severe pain in his ankle, probably deflected from his herniated disc in the lumbar region!  Fortunately the heat inside soon restored his equilibrium.

As usual work was busy and there is still a substantial backlog of coding to do, but hopefully I shall be able soon to catch up.  I was at least up to date with summarising new patient notes, when I left on Thursday.  Now that our secretary has resumed the typing, as her shoulder and hand are on the mend,  I can concentrate on my work of scanning, coding and summarising.

I was able to go to the Acorn Centre to help on Friday, although there were fewer students who had braved the cold weather.  The tutor, Kath, who is a farmer’s wife had been unable to get out of her farm for 12 days so last week’s class had to be cancelled!  Fortunately her son had a 4×4 and was able to bring his parents provisions until they could get out.  She was pleased to be able to get out again.  The snow had been so persistent, deep and frozen, that going out was very treacherous.

The coffee morning we normally have at my former chapel was cancelled yesterday, which was a pity, as it turned out to be a much milder day with sunshine yesterday.  I walked into town but on the way I popped in to see an elderly friend, who had missed seeing friends, when the coffee morning was cancelled; I took her round my Saga magazines and my Methodist Recorders for her interest.  She was pleased to see me and have a chat.  I then walked on to town to do a bit of shopping on the way to having a massage, my treat! Apparently I was more relaxed than normal, Silvie told me, when I had the full body massage at 1pm instead of the more usual time at 4pm; I nearly fell asleep as I was massaged and I felt relaxed for the rest of the day.

It was our service of lessons and carols today, as we no longer have an evening service and next Sunday is the children’s nativity service.  Our first carol was ‘Joy to the World’ followed by our first reading; ‘The sign of God’s favour’; Isaiah 7v13 and 14 looking forward to the birth of Immanuel followed by the annunciation from Luke’s gospel. We then sang with our choir ‘Unto us a child is born’ followed by a congregational hymn ‘A virgin most pure’, which I had never sung before.  It is an amazing hymn which goes through the story of Christmas from the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem because of the census where there was no room for the family, the visit of the Kings first and then the visit of the shepherds, but as each verse had a chorus, it took some singing!  I think it would be better separated into verses between the scenes of a nativity play, as the words of this traditional carol are lovely, but singing the whole carol takes a long time.

The second reading was ‘The Son of David’, which was from Isaiah 9v6-7 Wonderful, Counsellor Mighty God and then the birth of Jesus from Luke 2.   The choir then sang the carol, ‘On the road to Bethlehem.’  We then sang ‘Silent Night’ as a congregational hymn.

The third reading was Isaiah’s light in the darkness with the annunciation of the angels to the shepherds in Luke 2.  Of course we then sang ‘While Shepherds watched’ as a congregation.

The fourth reading was from Micah 5v 2-5 relating to the importance of Bethlehem for the birth of a ruler, followed by the shepherd’s visit to worship the baby Jesus.  We all sang ‘Away in the manger’ and then our minister, our deacon and our senior steward did a drama on the manger scene, being respectively a donkey, a goat and a lamb.  They commented on the arrival of the Mary and Joseph and the donkey and the birth of the baby who laughed, the visit of the lowly shepherds and the contrasting visit of the Kings; the lamb saw the baby as a shepherd, the goat saw the baby as a king and the donkey saw him as God.  They were puzzled when the young family left suddenly at night as though they were in danger!

The choir sang ‘O men from the fields,’ before the fifth reading from Numbers 24v15-17 about the oracle of Balaam which described a star, followed by the visit of the wise men from Matthew 2.  We all sang, ‘As with gladness men of old’, and the choir sang a beautiful Austrian carol, ‘Still, still, still.’

The sixth reading was ‘The challenge of evil’, the prophecy of lamentation in Ramah from Jeremiah 31v15 and the readings on the flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents from Matthew 2.

We sang ‘Let earth and heaven combine’, before the final reading ‘The triumph of grace’, which was from 1Peter 1v10-11 about the way God spoke through the prophets and finally through his son and from Hebrews 1v1-3 about Jesus being the reflection of God’s glory.

The choir sang, ‘When riches are everlasting’ and our deacon and minister led the prayers.  Our final hymn was ‘On Christmas night’ which concluded a wonderful worshipful service.  This is the day that the Lord has made and I rejoice and am glad in it.

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