Dec 07: Thoughts from the pews

I’m sat here most Sundays.

I often look up, watching the shadows of birds flit across the windows

Catching the sudden shafts of sunlight –

Messages from God I don’t yet understand

This year we’ve had scaffolding –

Great steel poles cutting across my view of the angels,

And now it’s winter a weaker sun shines.

The pew is harder in the cold air.

Outside the City bristles with Christmas,

the bench in the square occupied by bereft party-goers,

lost and sick with drink, or tired third-agers escaping from the mass, mad shop-fest.

It’s nearly Christmas.

Meanwhile, the Brownies chatter around their vibrant creativity,

Brown Owl, camera poised, helplessly pleading for stillness.

There is stillness in my heart as the music starts,

More people flock in from the street and the cold.

Outside, the light is failing, as the band stops us all and draws us in,

Everyone stops to listen, drifting down from the vestry and refreshments, to watch.

This is Christmas. People, strangers, families, young, old, in one place

Thinking about… something other than shopping, the guilty thoughts of Christmas

Replaced by wonder and quiet, calm.

I settle in my pew and rejoice in the company of strangers, the companionship.

It’s free, it costs nothing to look. Here in the heart of this City, in the bleak midwinter,

I take time to listen and remember

What it’s all about.

Not mince pies

Not spending

Not worrying

Not loneliness

Not frantic, scrabbling

Sorrowful, selfish, self-righteous

Short-sighted symbolism.

St. Thomas’s, Christmas Tree Festival, 2006


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