Well there was a first! There was no vigil Mass for Christmas this year. It turns out that Scotland is now chronically short on priests and the local church was all locked up for the falling of this holy night. I rang and rang the number of the parish priest, but it wasn’t answered. I am told that he has a number of other churches to look after now, and the one where I was wouldn’t be having a vigil this year. This probably means that it won’t be having one next year either.

This was sad, but it certainly wasn’t the end of the world. Where are the women priests? Where are the married priests? Why on earth don’t we have deacons and lay people leading services in the Church? We should have. We will have. Either this or we will just have to kiss goodbye to the whole idea of Christianity, and we’re not quite ready for that yet – well, at least I’m not.

At about ten o’clock last night a quietness descended. At long last my spirit had caught up with me in time for the Feast of the Nativity. It was Brendan O’Carroll in the guise of Mrs. Brown who did it. I had watched the Papal vigil on the television, but this was more spectacle than grace, it was the witty motherly wisdom of O’Carroll’s Agnes Brown who brought Christmas home to me.

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