My brother suggested we go to a little church outside Port Isaac for the morning service to get into the Christmas spirit. He told me that St Endellion was exceptionally beautiful. It turned out to be one of the most stunning churches I have ever seen.
One must always hunt out a really magical church at Christmas, with old-fashioned carols, jolly ‘Ho Ho’ vicars and audience participation for the youngest unmarried (who is the only practising heathen from our brood).
Half way through the service (having listened to a reading delivered in a satisfyingly broad Cornish accent), the vicar was weaving from side to side, slowly walking up the central aisle looking for his ‘flock’. Nobody cottoned onto what he was jabbering about for quite a bit. The children certainly hadn’t a clue because he was being far too subtle for the parents. “Oh I see, he is looking around to find his flock… as in children? Or sheep? Or maybe the children are substitute sheep? Aaaaahhhhh got it!”
Well, the problem with this realisation was the youngest unmarried ‘got it’ too. Up he jumped. He certainly was all for joining the flock! He had been waiting a year for this very request! Wonderful invitation. Here I come.
If the vicar wanted his flock by night then my boy would provide him with a flock by night. Even if this ‘flock’ was just made up of one hairy twenty seven year old man! At last, the rest of the congregation were pushing their kids up to join in behind the slow procession. You only need one to get this thing moving!
I noticed a few parents felt they needed to escort their offspring now that our huge hairy sheep (the unmarried needed a shave) had stepped up to be counted. That’s OK, totally understandable, though some were looking to see if the hairy large sheep had in fact got any of his own children in tow or was it really a matter of a lone sheep doing his own thing? Maybe he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Perish the thought.
Eventually everyone relaxed, even the son’s father, who should be getting used to his youngest’s Christmas service participation. I don’t feel that Christmas has really begun (for any of us) until the son’s obligatory ‘joining in’, sitting around the nativity with other ‘real’ little children, lighting the advent candles, volunteering what he had received for Christmas or anything else they decide to throw at him. The youngest unmarried gets so much pleasure out of it, though I do have a niggling feeling it’s all just
done to razz up his poor old daddy!
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