Sunday 25 December 2016

The Archdruid's Christmas Sermon

Feeling a bit tired, to be honest. Obviously, I've led 136 different services since 1 December. All the way through Advent (ie about 5 days in) followed by Carol services, Beer 'n' Carols, Cheese 'n' Carols, Carol singing in the street, in a tent, in a fridge, in a goose farm - tasteless, I thought. Then Crib services, Christingle, Nativity, Puppet Nativity, "Come Dressed as a Wise Person" Nativity, Donkey service, Christmas Eve Tea Light Spectacular, 9pm Midnight service, so I get to do another gig to save people staying up. Then 11.15 Midnight service because it's so lovely. Then Actual Midnight service for chronological pedants. Then 12.45 "People on the way home from the pub" service, 8am Dawnlight service, and now 10am Morning Service with Father Christmas and the extra verse from "O Come All Ye Faithful".

And I'm not saying I've had much sleep. Though I have eaten more mince pies and drunk more sherry than Major Dumpling on a mince pie and sherry binge.

So here we are. 10 am service. The end of the Winter Sleep Deprivation Marathon. This is Christmas, as John Lennon sung on one of his terrible records. And what have we learnt?

Well, the Whos had been waiting for a saviour. Not the Whos. You know - the other ones. O Come O Come, Emmanuel and all that. The Jews. Not the Whos. Totally different bunch. And then the saviour came. Not a Grinch in a palace. Not Grinch. King. King in a palace. Not Crystal Palace. Herod's Palace. It's been a long night.

And then Three Wise Men. Or at least three. Could have been dozens. I mean, what's the collective term for Wise Men? A Magi of? Were they all men? Everybody that knows anything about the Ancient Middle East says yes, And yet, in the interests of a sermon, I might argue, no. Maybe - and we have no archaeological evidence, let's face it - maybe there were women. Maybe Cybil Shepherd was in the fields abiding. Yeah, she's an actor by day. But she could have moonlighting. Moonlighting geddit?

And so we come to the non-existent stable, as thoroughly dismantled by Ian Paul. And what do we see as we look into it? Well, nothing. Obviously. If it were there we might see something. But if it ain't there, where's the Little Drummer Boy? And did he get his drum for Christmas? And if he did was he really annoyed because he really wanted a Hatchimal? And if there wasn't snow that year in Bethlehem did Mary complain and say it didn't feel much like Christmas and everybody gave her that look because she said it every year?

And then Herod came down from his mountain and stole Christmas.

And so as we come to the end of 2016, I've done a quick count of the number of celebrities we've lost and mourned on Twitter, and I reckon we can't have any left. At least, let me put it this way, we've got Christopher Biggins under guard in the Moot House for his own good and we're not letting him out. At least, not till he promises never again to go on another show with the word "Celebrity" at the front of its name. Well I thought it was Christopher Biggins, but on reflection it was Timmy Mallett. Still, at least someone is safe till next year.

And so, staggering through the discarded jewel cases of festive editions of Last of the Summer Wine, and the bottles of Baileys that lie deep and crisp and half-drunk around the Great House and its surroundings, we hope that global warming does not result in Santa having to live in a bubble under the sea and having to be protected from harm by Troy Tempest. We light the Yule Log with the Christmas wrapping and then discover we've incinerated the chocolate one, not the lump of oak we've been keeping safe since June specially for the day.

  • So this is Christmas, and what have we done? Apart from quote that appalling self-centered hippy twice. Eaten three chocolate selection boxes for breakfast in a desperate attempt to keep my blood sugar levels up after the disturbed night in which I dreamt that Boris Johnson, dressed only in LEDs and a Santa hat, was singing "Blue Christmas" and going round the houses of Europe, taking enough presents from each house to equal £375M per year and handing all the socks, scarfs and novelty reindeer slippers to the NHS.

I NEED SOME SLEEP! Why do we persist in celebrating our religious festivals by insisting everybody gets so little sleep they confuse tiredness with mysticism? Surely on that Silent Night, of all nights, I can expect a full eight hours?

So a merry Easter. And God bless us every one.

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