I always thought that David’s HQ was Jerusalem so it came as a bit of a shock to discover that it was, in fact, the little town of Bethlehem. According to Luke anyway. (That’s the Biblical Luke rather than Nicole’s husband.)
I was listening to Sunday this morning and there was a sneak preview of a programme going to air on Christmas Day regarding the choir at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. Apparently the soloist who gets to sing the first bit of Once in Royal David’s City is chosen at the very last moment.
They are all there, waiting hopefully (or not) as the organ warms up and the choirmaster suddenly turns to them, points a withered old finger in the direction of one quivering lad and booms “You boy! You shall sing the solo!“
And then, to a TV audience in the millions as well as a packed chapel, this poor kid has to suddenly sing out loud with no clue as to the opening note other than his inherent knowledge of music.
Don’t get me wrong, they’ve all practised it over and over and over so to expect perfection is not an impossible request. Still, it can’t be that easy.
It wasn’t quite so difficult for us tonight.
Nearly the only time we go to church is for the carol service at Christmas. I should probably add that we do go INTO a lot of churches but that’s to admire the architecture and search out Joans, Sebastiens and Roches. However, we only ever attend any kind of service once a year, when there’s an opportunity to sing carols.
There’s something quite special about a church that has been decorated and has the biggest congregation of the year and a choir of stalwarts, that makes it mandatory when we’re home for it.
Of course that isn’t always the case given our proclivity for spending Christmas in various other cities but this year it was a must.
So, at 5pm we set off and by 5:15 were sat in very good seats in the centre block, ready for the off. And we weren’t disappointed.
As well as the usual carols, there were also a few lesser known ones that the choir made easy work of, making the church ring with glorious sounds. It was all very lovely. I also enjoyed the ‘sermon’ given by the vicar. Particularly when he suggested that people who didn’t believe in any of the religious nonsense should just respect those that did and not chat during the prayers. It marks a great moment for me given I’m not usually included in these things.
The only bit I had a problem with (and this happens every time we go to the Christmas carol service) was the whole story of Mary, Joseph and the mysterious conception and birth. I always want to stand up and ask how they could possibly think it was anything other than having sex before marriage without contraception. I mean, hats off to Mary for a brilliantly executed plan…though it did put a bit of a heavy burden on her son’s shoulders.
I guess we’ll never know who was Jesus’ real father; whether it actually was the randy Joseph or someone else with whom Mary had a final fling at her Hen’s Night. There’s no DNA given we don’t know who’s bits are where anymore. Even the relics could be from anyone. I mean there’s enough bits of the True Cross to make a forest so who knows how many people could be made from the numerous relics of Mary.
But that was it. The rest of it was great fun and a very warm family type feeling flowed through us as we left, wishing the vicar a merry Christmas as we heading out into the churchyard and down the alley just as God decided we needed to get rained on.
Fortunately, it didn’t last long and we decided a short walk up the Lion and Lamb Yard was in order before heading home to the puppies and dinner.
Someone took a similar photo of the Yard and many people said it looked very Dickensian. I say they’re completely wrong,. There’s not nearly enough mud and simply no poverty.