Anyway, my neighbour the churchwarden’s letter sparked our rector into a cracking good sermon on the theme of Christmas being absolutely not RIP, no way, not in his church – or any other of his churches – not while he was rector, anyway.
He retold the endlessly retold story as we grew misty-eyed while clinging to the (few) working radiators; he expanded into how the Puritan Parliament had abolished Christmas services, but they would not be abolished while two or three were gathered together.
He became quite exercised about parliaments abolishing things – including this parliament, including foxhunting (“or tried to!”) – while we mouthed silent Hurrahs to each other. It was stirring stuff from a village pulpit.
“Very rousing, David,” we said as we filed out. “You were getting quite political there.” He said he didn’t use the term “nanny state” himself. But you do sometimes, especially here in the countryside, get a bit sick of everything being banned. He hoped we’d got his message about the spirit of Christmas though? We had, we had.