Baby Jesus

Monthly Digest: December 2018

A Happy Christmas to everyone – yes, it’s still Christmas! We hope you are having a joyful and peaceful holiday season. The preceding weeks were busy but remarkably uneventful ones for us, so I’m afraid there isn’t much to report this month. But thank you for journeying with us in 2018 and we wish you every blessing for the year ahead.

Br Stuart and Br Aidan travelled to Wantage on the 3rd December to visit the Sisters of the Community of St Mary the Virgin. While Br Stuart led them in a discussion about renewal in the religious life Br Aidan disappeared into the archives.

Br Michäel and Sr Sally make a batch of festive rum n’ raison chocolate sweets

On the 24th we had our usual Crib rite following the first Vespers of Christmas, and welcomed familiar faces to tea and mince pies afterwards. On Christmas Day itself we follow the usual timetable, although we get to sing some particularly beautiful hymns and antiphons. There is usually a little give around lunch time – in the timetable that is – but this year we even managed to say None in time for the Queen’s speech!

It was also the start of our Octave; eight days in which the guesthouse remains closed and the Community has something like an internal holiday. There are talking meals, later mornings, chances to go out and have friends and family visit, and the diet is more…how can we say…varied. Many thanks to the generous people who make that possible.

Yorkshire puds
Some very successful Yorkshire puds for our Boxing Day lunch. Sr Sally and Br Aidan were on lunch detail over Christmas.
Br Anthony gives the birds their Christmas lunch…

On Thursday 27th six of us got up early and left for London to see the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition at the British Library, where we met up with a dear friend and former novice. Exhibits included the earliest copy of the Rule of St Benedict and the St Cuthbert gospel, which was buried with the saint and is now the oldest surviving European book. It runs until 19th February and is well worth a visit.

A page from the Rule of St Benedict, c.700, now on display at the British Library