Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's When?

Where am I? A reasonable question if you've just been dropped off by the kidnappers and left to make your way home.

Who am I? OK, you have amnesia. That blow to the head was worse than we thought.

Why am I? Good theological theme for the season.

The season? Ah yes. Glad you asked. The pre-Christmas season formerly known as Advent. By about now I start to be bothered by this final problem more than the others. When am I?

Last year I got excited by Paula Gooder's observation that in Advent you looked forward to the past and remembered the future. That statement alone was a time-whirl.

What happens to me about now is that my whenabouts in the week goes awol.

Its not quite the same for some. Teachers seem to be either on or off and are currently off. Retail staff are now permanently on and walk around with a glazed expression when someone, for instance, announces an extra Bank Holiday. A Bank what? Sorry, you've lost me there, they say.

We all operate with fixed points. Even shift-workers with odd patterns of work/rest seem to have ways of making their lives revolve around something. Seven on, two off, five on, three off or some similar mantra.

Now my pattern is to work hard and long Monday to Thursday, to keep Friday free from duties, to do what ever comes up on Saturday but not to go looking for work and to be fit and well for Sunday as a day of worship and of work.

This week there are things to do on Friday, Christmas Eve, culminating in an important preach at an hour of my usual day off when I would normally be asleep. Then Christmas Day, which always feels like a Sunday for me, although I have no duties after the morning communion. Sunday 26th is the day after Christmas but won't feel like a Sunday because my own church community has decided not to meet and Mrs Mustard will be heading of to work at 6.00 a.m. to supervise retail sales in various outlets. Then Monday 27th is a Bank Holiday, the family are visiting and it will feel Sundayish again. The rest of the week will be out of kilter and how much work I do will very much depend on circumstances. The New Year weekend will again feel weird and the Monday after will be another Bank Holiday so the back-to-normal Tuesday 4th will feel like a Monday. I doubt very much if I will know when I am until Monday 10th January.

This is neither a rant nor a moan. Merely an observation. Your clergy will be struggling to know when it is.

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