Origami boats, flowers, birds and hearts, all crafted from golden napkins by two Japanese girls who came to yesterday's Christmas Day lunch, and shared them with children from Mongolia and Iran. This sums up and symbolises what an amazing day we shared.
When I prepared for the service, I had guessed that 50 of everything would be plenty... oh me of little faith, over a hundred people, from four local churches supplemented by oodles of visitors, came together to celebrate Christmas surrounded by beautiful stained glass in splendid architecture. We successfully negotiated our different traditions and expectations and had a lovely warm, friendly time together.
Moving to the hall, about forty or so folk (I didn't count so I don't know exactly how many) enjoyed a three course lunch, sang carols, renewed old friendships and made new ones. Students, refugees, people who would otherwise be alone, retired academics, missionaries and people with vulnerabilities gathered together in a room where the air rang with laughter, and the love was palpable. This is Christmas. This is a foretaste of heaven.
After that, in true Vicar of Dibley fashion, I was welcomed into a home for a second Christmas Dinner. A small gathering who shared conversation and quizzes (and another three courses dinner!) in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere.
Arriving home at about 10:30, I had no energy left to unwrap parcels, so went to bed, tired and happy, knowing that I had already had the best gift I could dream of.