A good Christmas with one major disappointment. Christmas starts properly for us when we attend the Carol Service at St Albans Cathedral. On 21 December we set off with masses of time, but bad weather and accidents on the road meant that we arrived home two hours later having got not even close! Actually, in retrospect, if we had got there, probably we wouldn't have got back!
I've got used to not being involved in Christmas services, but I did have the opportunity to lead some prayers of intercession at the Carols by Candlelight at our home church, and I was asked if I would teach a round on Christmas Day. By way of explanation, a few weeks back I taught Jubilate Deo from Taize and it went spectacularly well with all ages! I thought that something similar on Christmas Day wasn't likely to do it for most people, but nonetheless taught 'Gloria, gloria, in excelsis Deo', again from Taize, and again it worked a treat! I have to add that we sang another song from which I wish to totally disassociate myself - 'Christmas, isn't Christmas, till it happens in your heart'.
Otherwise, Christmas has included many good things. A pleasurable excess of homemade Christmas cake - thanks to Sarah - and Christmas pudding, some good TV/DVD's - Doctor Who, Hamlet, Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra (again), and Valkyre (not the opera but the Tom Cruise). We went to see Avatar, which I thoroughly enjoyed, especially as a first in 3D - see Glyn's post here.
Present wise, it was a bit of a Schubert-fest, with Ian Bostridge singing, Die Schöne Müllerin, Mark Padmore singing Winterreise - spectacular - and the last three piano sonatas with Murray Perahia. Some Mahler still hasn't arrived.
The other high point was reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbary, a beautiful book, and fitting conclusion to 2009. Right at the end of the book are these words in response to hearing the strains of Satie's Gymnopédies,
'there's a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same. It's as if those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never.'