Today was the Second Sunday in Advent. It rained, relentlessly. The borders in our garden were flooded and we had to wade through a massive puddle to reach the car. The wind blew ominously, making us fear for the ferries again. And yet, among all this wildness, we have had the most wonderful day.
For the first time in many years, we had a proper Advent Carol Service in Holy Trinity Church, Dunoon. I was one of a group of singers drawn from our church and St Paul's, Rothesay, a group small enough and expert enough to make great sounds together and goodness, we enjoyed the experience. Our visiting singers weren't deterred or stranded by the weather, and were followed by a group of parishioners from Rothesay, so that even on a day like this there was a congregation of 50 in the candlelit gloom. The water poured into the vestry and the back of the nave; buckets slithered on the wet floor; the draughts swept down from the tower and into the choir - but there were candles everywhere, the silences were full of the anticipation of the season, and the atmosphere was electric.
We are so blessed in the circumstances which have brought together Kimberly our new rector, Martin our singing bishop, some great readers and this wee choir - to say nothing of our organist, about whom I say less than most because he is also Mr Blethers. Our church may look scabby and leak horrendously; it may be stuck up a hill in the woods; we may have no money to do more than keep the heating on for an extra day to stave off hypothermia. But the inner fire is there, the spirit is alive, and I wouldn't have it otherwise for the world.
And our Rector makes fabby mulled wine!