Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh, and shadow...

...first, the good news. A happy snowy evening of carol-singing. We went from house to house in a residential area of London, and as our voices warmed up and we sang carol after carol, in a rather bitter wind and with drifting flakes of snow, there was a joy and unity and fun that was of the essence of Christmas...."We heard you coming as you sang down the road! It's lovely!" said one young mum, as she and her children stood in the dooorway to enjoy our carols, and one of the children came forward shyly with money for our collecting-tin. We had so many lovely encounters. One chap gave us £20. Many families brought their children down to hear us, in dressing-gowns and pyjamas. One elderly lady called out us us to wait, as she was disabled and it had taken her time to get to her front door, and she wanted to greet us. Another lady came hurrying down the road with a donation...

And we finished joyfully at a cheery pub, with red wine and lots of talk, and counting up the money - a goodly sum which we will divide between a couple of different groups working with the elderly.

Then the bad news. This morning I realised that my wallet was missing - must have been taken, I realised, during an earlier stage of the evening, possibly on the Tube...

Today happens to be a busy one - I had to hurry to London to deliver some Christmas presents, as well as tackling the various writing projects that have to be completed before Christmas... The last thing I needed was an extra hassle cancelling cheque-cards etc. All done now, and everything freshly organised. I'm writing this in an internet cafe, not far from St Paul's Cathedral. London is rather magnificent in its stark wintry glory, there are delicious things on sale in the coffee-shops, it's been fun sorting out the delivery of Christmas presents to various relations for opening on Christmas Day, and I happened to run into a friend, a monk, at Cannon Street station and we had a cheery chat. So life is good. But it would be even better if Britain was a country where a wallet was reasonably safe.

PS: I wonder what the thief will make of the holy cards and picture of the Pope, the little sewing-kit and and Rosary memo that he finds in my wallet?


Sheila A. Waters said...

I loved your stories about caroling. I was raised in an unhappy 1950s stepfamily where carolers were unwelcome in that house. The strain of Christmas made me ill every December, so I escaped into the wonderful world of books.
The pre-Christmas rush has accelerated in NY because snow is predicted for Sunday. Suburban (Westchester) Catholic parishes are busy with the Christmas Giving Tree--a wooden tree filled with tags marked for gifts (age & gender) to benefit those in need. Others are collecting new and "gently-used" coats. Most parishes have Advent & Christmas concerts (some with handbells), Advent Bible discussions, Breakfast & Photo with Santa, poinsettia donations in memory of loved ones, and Christmas Novena cards. A neighboring parish distributes candles placed in sand-filled paper bags at curbside that are lit for 9 nights--their version of Mexico's posada commemorating the journey of Mary & Joseph to Bethlehem.
Neighborhoods are festive with door wreaths and lit trees, and cars roam in line to see the more elaborate light effects. Grandparents still take grandchildren "to the city" to see the Rockefeller Tree and skating rink, Christmas Show at Rockefeller Center, animated department store windows (getting more & more secular & away from the original Christmas intent), the Nutcracker Ballet, the new Narnia film, and the decorated St. Patrick's Cathedral where Archbishop Dolan presides.
If only New Yorkers would drop "Happy Holidays" for "Merry Christmas!"

Dawn said...

Your description of your caroling outing made me smile. I can feel the warmth and the good-will that you paint with your words.

Am sorry to hear about your wallet. I have thoughts of if they were truly that desperate and needy, well God bless them so that they may be helped in a more God-willed way.

If not, I hope that the articles in your wallet stirs some feeling of contrition that leads them to sincere repents.

God Bless Joanna to you and yours. And may all other readers of your blog to be richly blessed this holy season by remembering the poor, the alone, the fearful.

Manny said...

Other than the wallet, it sounds like a lovely outing. Sorry about the wallet, but feel good that you spread Christ's birth through the streets.

Sheila - lots of New Yorkers still say Merry Christmas, like me!

Malcolm said...

No sense of Christmas here, though of course I'm only a few miles from Bethlehem.
Last year they had a Christmas Eve party in manger square but cancelled the video link to the Mass. Part of the campaign for Islamicisation.