In a couple of hours time I will be loading my car and heading to school to help set up for our tea and community carol service, Sing Like an Angel. The title we stole from Spurgeon's Child care when they weren't looking, and there will be loads of angels - as table centres, on the front of the hand-decorated gift notebooks, in the carols and so on.
We have around 100 booked in for tea - but how many that might really be is anyone's guess, as lots of people don't book on the basis that 'one more won't matter' and if anyone asks me can they bring a friend/neighbour/relative at the last minute I say yes. We have a coach and a taxi gathering folk from selected highways and byways to ensure they arrive. We are borrowing every Methodist and Community Centre stacking chair to supplement ours and the school's (Anglican chairs don't stack, it seems!). We have two pianists, two sketches and half a dozen Bible readings. We have a Methodist minister on threat of excommunication if he exceeds five minutes, goes off theme or talks over people's heads, a newly arrived rector who has never been to an unrehearsed service and is mildly panicking - oh and a weird Baptist woman who will be wearing a red suit and a Santa hat.
Set up starts at 1:30, tea at 4:45, the service at six. By 9p.m. the school halls will be tidy, the guests will be safe and warm at home, and the members of four smallish churches will be tired but fulfilled, slumped on their settees with horlicks, cocoa, beer or wine! But the angels will be still be singing and my biggest hope is that the evangel - the good message - will still be ringing in our ears, minds and hearts as we curl up to sleep after a day well spent.