On Christmas Eve 2013, we were blessed with our first GREAT grandchild; a beautiful little girl named Alice Jayne. Alice, her mum and grandma came to visit on Saturday after visiting the Church to book Alice’s christening for April. She is such a placid, happy baby who has already stolen the hearts of everyone she’s met in her short life.
Although we phone or message each other almost every day, we don’t always get to see each other often because of work commitments and the distance between our homes. So visits are very precious to us. The church is also a distance from their homes but it is where two of my children, and most of my twelve grandchildren were baptised and where my daughter was married. On our fortieth wedding anniversary, four years ago, my husband and I renewed our wedding vows there, in the company of our family and friends.
On Christmas Eve most of the family come here before going down to church for the children’s service, and preparation of the Crib. It’s become a family tradition, going to church, back to grandmas, then changing into their Christmas pyjamas before going off home to hang up their stocking. Then snuggle down in bed to wait for Santa Claus. It was so nice to hear Alice’s parents want her to have her christening at our church.
Now all I have to do is find the baptism gift and record book that I bought last year. As usual I put them away somewhere safe, but up to now my searches have been futile. Somewhere in my home is an invisible room full of things that I put away safe and have never seen again.
Our parish church is a beautifully modernised building, over 100 years old. It’s home to a small but dedicated congregation who manage to keep the place alive, despite being in an area where almost all of the houses were demolished a couple of years ago. Initially, the estate was to have been rebuilt, but the plans were buried in an office by the local authority when the financial situation affected the housing department. Recently, a very small portion of the land has been earmarked for a few new houses to be built. The roads have been laid and signs of walls rising from the ashes. And so the church stands virtually alone at the opposite end of the estate, a visual reminder of the faith of the people who keep it alive and slowly growing.
Whilst we were chatting I suddenly realised that there were four generations of our family all together in my living room. But not only that but we are all female. And so I’m going off to look for a photographer who’ll take a photograph for us to record what is an unique occurrence.