I've been reading Kimberly's take on how ordination changes, among other things, the whole business of Christmas for the ordained. But I'd already been thinking along these lines, for it is not only the ordained who have to fit in the baking, the tree-decoration, the card-writing around other, more pressing activities. In fact, I must have been barely an adult when a totally carefree approach to the season vanished, to be replaced by the situation on which I touched in yesterday's post.
About ten years before I became involved with the church, I started singing in choirs which "did" Christmas. I met Mr B while singing in an a cappella octet which "did", inter alia, Christmas. Christmas occurs in - you've got it - midwinter. The height of the colds/flu/lost voice/wvv season. Suddenly a night out on the town - for in these days I lived in Glasgow - was a dangerous pastime. Who knows what bugs you might meet in a steamy pub? And if you had a duty to the other singers not to let them down ... you get the picture.
And then you find yourself, a singer who likes singing in small groups, married to a singer who is also a church organist. You bear children - and they become choristers. So as well as singing and cooking and being Santa you also end up laundering surplices and ironing ruffs while the organist is away catching his death in the freezing church as he practises or wrestling over an order of service with the incumbent of the day - and, dear reader, we have seen a few of them in our time. The angst is commensurably greater, though you are too busy actually to notice till it's all over.
I've just been chatting to one of our choir from yesterday who is going to her family for Chrismas Day. She won't be cooking, and her daughter-in-law will be doing the domestics. I wondered, fleetingly, if this would ever be our lot. But even as I wondered I knew the answer. For there is a wonderful reward in this church musician caper, in doing your very best to create something beautiful to enhance worship. I don't know what kind of shelf life we have, as singers, but I know full well that my life as Temporary Domestic Goddess will be hugely enriched by the contrast with what has gone before, and right now I can't imagine removing the organist from his home patch over Christmas.
Tomorrow I shall doubtless be laying hay in the manger and rescuing the Holy Family from the big chest in the damp tower, but before that - like now, this minute - I must ice my Christmas cake.