Well, where else to take a donkey but to see a long-lost relative at the Christmas market. A kind lady agreed to pose with our hairy friends. The original plan - to have reindeer had to be changed, when Rudolf jumped over the fence and made off at top speed down the road.
Our holy family even got to take a trip on the train - down the line to take part in our Franciscan small group's Christmas meeting.
What else? Mr GP and I enjoyed a wonderful Christmas concert at church a couple of weeks ago and and last weekend I did manage to get to Nine Lessons and Carols. It never ceases to weave its magic for me. "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it..." We all clutched on our candles as they burned lower and lower. Would that frail wavering light last out until the end of the penultimate carol? It was a near thing. But 'light and life to all he brings..." we got there at last - to the final triumphant "Hark! The herald angels sing. Glory to the new born king!" I kept my candle stump -as a reminder to myself of that light and hope.
And - unexpected bonus. I may not have been able to go to midnight mass myself this year but an unexpected call early on Christmas eve from a fellow sacristy helper who'd been taken ill meant I spent a quiet time that morning counting out hundreds of wafers, wine and assorted altar linen. All to the accompaniment of the childrens' groups rehearsing for the crib service next door. OK - maybe 'quiet' isn't the most apt word to use! Magic all the same. Although - I do think our church's children must be exceptionally well-behaved compared to most. It's the first time I've ever heard kids that age singing "Gabriel's Message" without trying to sneak in the "alternative words!"
Then on to a local rest home to visit a very elderly church member.
It may not have been quite what I'd planned for the day, but the best laid plans....