Last Sunday I attended a Carol service in a small chapel a couple of miles away down a narrow country lane. It began with the preacher saying “I welcome you all to our Carol service in July” and, after a momentary pause, she added “How eccentric is that?” Later on in the service, she referred to its being an “eccentric absurdity”, admitting that she had deliberately not asked us to sing In the Bleak Midwinter as that was a step too far!
I looked up the meanings of “eccentric”- unconventional or slightly strange- and “absurdity” - the quality or state of being ridiculous or wildly unreasonable.
As we sang Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem and the like, through the window I glanced the blue sky and piles of hay in the graveyard. It occurred to me then that service was certainly unconventional, rather than ridiculous, which is why I enjoyed it so much.
After the service, we gathered outside in the sunshine to partake of the mince pies and Christmas cake on offer. It was then that I noticed one member of the congregation emerging from the chapel. He was a Father Christmas lookalike complete with long white beard and sporting a bright red shirt with a Christmas pattern on it. He had really entered into the spirit of things which brought a smile to my face!
I like being unconventional. When my grandson was born, I decided I would not be called Granny, Grandma or Nanny (this last one reminds me of a goat) so chose Oma, a word of Germanic origin. I spent my working life as a teacher and had to conform, so now I enjoy the freedom of not having to toe the line. My choice of clothes nowadays is completely different – I enjoy wearing maxi dresses and skirts (which remind me of my hippie-influenced teens!) And still on the topic of clothes, when I was confirmed at the age of 11, I refused to obey convention by wearing a modest all white outfit, choosing a green mini dress instead. I think deep down I have been a natural rebel all my life!
So do you like being different? Would you describe yourself as eccentric or do you think others see you as that? Are you a rebel?
And the reason for a Carol service in July? In 2009, the Big Freeze made it impossible for the usual Carol service to be held at the end of December. So it was decided to delay it until the Summer months. The congregation enjoyed it so much that it’s been held every July ever since!
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