T EXPECT that most of you have
prepared your decorations for Christmas by now. and will have checked that the crib and figures will be ready for Christmas Eve. In my family we make the crib ourselves, and even if it's the same one as last year there's always last minute repair work to be done. The top is made out of brown cartridge paper, crinkled to make it look like rock. There's always a hole or two that seems to have appeared during a year in the loft, but a piece of cotton wool snow usually deals with that.
THERE'S always a collection of strange animals that find their way into our family crib. Some of them I'm sure, would have surprised the people of Bethlehem! We shall have to make a journey to the shop for a new sheep, because the dog has chewed its legs off. But I expect by Christmas night everything will be ready.
This year we've had an Advent wreath. It's a circle of evergreen with four candles standing in it. On each Sunday of Advent a candle is lit, and the ribbon around it changed to white. Just before Chastmas. all the candles are lit, and with their white ribbons they took very fine. We've been able to hang it from the ceiling just over where the crib will be. It will stay there during Christmas to remind us, by looking like a crown of thorns, of the reason why God was born at Bethlehem.
OFTEN think it's rather a pity that some altar servers mumble. I expect you know what I mean. First of all the priest's voice can be heard, then there's a kind of hum from the server, and the priest speaks again. Perhaps if the server remembered that he was speaking on behalf of the congregation he would raise his voice so that everyone could hear, I think this is much more important than getting one's genuflections in at exactly the right time.
With only a few days of Advent left it might be a good opportunity to serve one or two week-day Masses. Your priest will be very glad, and it will be rather a good Way of preparing for Christmas.
Fr. Aime Duval, S.J., has reported that almost a million of his records have been sold since he began strumming his guitar and singing popular-styled religious songs in public about four years ago.
A scene from "The Golden One", a historical novel for older children by Henry Treece (Bodley Head, I35. 6d.), showing Theodora, the lost child of a Greek mother and Viking father, who is caught up in the troubled wars surrounding Constantinople, 1204.