My last primary school Christmas service - possibly!

>>  Sunday, December 18, 2016

 Since 2004 I have been helping the school out with their 3 times a year whole school visits to our local church. The services are done in 3 'sittings' as the church can only fit a third of the school at a time.

This year the religious education lead is retiring.  I guess it's an opportunity for me to 'retire' too.

For as long as I can remember I've gone up to school for 9am (taking tea, coffee, sugar, milk), walked the 15 or so children that will be 'performers' to church.  Helped them get into costumes, put out comment slips and pencils, handed out service sheets, greeted and smiled, fetched chairs, collected up service sheets, dashed to the church hall to get the kettle on and make juice for the performers and choir and put out biscuits, made tea and coffee for the adults, washed up, put break time away.  Greeted the next set of parents and pupils with service sheets, collected them up again, walked children back to school.  Walked home for dinner, walked back up to school, walked them down to church again, done it all over again (without the tea break), walked them back to school and done.

All this is interspersed in church with parents to be helped with prams, crying babies, running around toddlers, bleeding noses, and this year a sick bowl and chair in the vestry!!!

And I've loved every second of it.  It's always felt such a privilege to be part of school life for a short time and even more so after Cog left the school.

I've guided little tots down the aisles. I'll never forget the year we had 3 Marys because the first one was poorly and the second one crumbled into tears and didn't want to walk down the aisle.  They are only 4 years old bless them.

Each years I think I recognise a child and then realise that it can't be them, that child is 17 years old now! Funny how similar they look (but then I live in a village with a small gene pool!)

There was the service in the year that the headmaster died, it was hard not to cry through his favourite carol.

The service just 2 days after my friend died, it touched the whole school and was a very hard day.

This year the vicar that has always done the school services died.  He went into school regularly, but the services at church were extra special because he always took animals in to be part of the sermon. A rabbit or a dove, perhaps his quails.  He was sadly missed this year.

The passing of the years marked by familiar traditions with missing people.

But it's not all about sadness, sorry.  The happy children, the bright faces, the beautiful clear voices in cheery songs and actions, the excitement of Christmas coming.  Even the current headmaster's dreadful jokes on his huge handmade advent calendar.  I've loved it all.

I've done Easter, Harvest and Christmas for 12 years.

That's 35 days (1 Easter to go).  I've taken holiday from work to do them or unpaid leave.

That's 105 services.  36 times of helping children put crowns on or sending a tiddler carrying a basket of apples down the aisle.

87 miles walked. 70 pints of milk bought.

Actually, I do hope they will still want me to help again in the future, those numbers do not still well with me at all, not round enough.  I think I should stop when one of them is on a 100!

I'm just not ready to retire!


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