First day of Advent – NOW I can light the candle without fear of reproach! I watch it burn – fierce and vital – through the gloom of this dismal Tuesday morning. What a day! I allow myself the luxurious thought that I do not have to go out….. anywhere……not even to my bin where (seasonally) there is no room. So, I ask my lovely neighbour:
‘Is there any room in your bin? ‘but her answer is in the negative. She does, however, offer me a large, black sack which will accommodate the discarded Christmas decor nicely. I fill the bag almost to capacity with stuff, stuff and yet more STUFF! I have another bag alongside it into which I put dishes, bedding, clothes and ornaments which I no longer ‘need’. This will go to charity and I won’t miss any of it. So where’s the big sacrifice? I can’t even feel ‘good’ about this…..I feel ashamed… I feel guilty… I feel rubbish….
I glance over at the candle burning beside the crib. Take Mary and Joseph – they had nothing, yet they had everything…. and I’m recalling…..Back in the day a very stern Religious Examiner asked a terrified class of nine year olds,
‘Who exactly was St. Joseph?’
‘Please, Farra, he wis a carpetfitter!’ came the assured reply.
‘Hrmph! Anyone else care to enlighten me further?’ Not a peep. Eventually, a hand shot into the air and,
‘Farra, he wis Mary Hale’s man!’ broke the jittery silence.
‘And from where or whom did you get that fact?’ demanded the apoplectic clergyman turning to fix his gaze on the near suicidal teacher.
‘Please, Farra, we sing it in St. Joseph’s hymn. The teacher learned us’…..it goes: Hail, Holy Joseph, hail! Husband of Mary, hail!….’
Now I’m smiling. I miss teaching…..but not on days like this…
ps…. ‘The Remains of the Sleigh’ – that’s a good’un! (Sorry, Sam – how could I have forgotten to include that!)