A 365 conundrum.
is Jesus (in His manger, as you can see).
During the autumn, our church flower lady handed in her resignation. A new flower lady was sought – by flower lady I mean Church Flower Arrangement Team Co-ordinator. Nobody wanted to do it. Time went by. So in the end I volunteered. I thought, hey, how hard can this be? I can organise a rota. I can learn how to do flowers. I said I’d do it if no-one else would.
More time went by, no-one else volunteered. Meanwhile I gave away my car. Then I got cold feet about the flowers. Would it be hard to do on foot or on the bus? So I backed out of it.
More time went by and still no-one else volunteered. The rector gave out a notice to say we would have no flower lady from the beginning of Advent. The Advent flowers were up and those would be the last ones. If we had no flower lady by Christmas the rector would have to do it himself and we’d have to live with plastic flowers. Any volunteer coming forward would be starting by doing the Christmas flowers.
I felt guilty. OK, I said. I’ll do it.
So I bought the best recommended book on church flower arranging, which cost me twenty-five quid. I bought some oasis foam blocks, some paper-covered bind-wire and some florist’s cutters, and two widths of anchor tape. I can do this, I told myself – even by bus.
So, my first task would be the Christmas flowers. Now, I don’t know about you but my personal view is that the centrepiece of a church at Christmas should be the Baby Jesus in a manger – and it should be the best Jesus and the best manger you can lay your hands on.
We have as it happens a wooden plant-holder thingy that does look eerily like a manger. It’s rough, it’s rustic, and it’s handy for over-wintering the geraniums in the porch. So I thought that though a Jesus would be expensive, he would do for year after year, and would need only large amounts of greenery and berried holly that I could get from the garden and the wild places, and just a few simple Christmas roses in amongst – so it would probably work out less money overall than buying a lot of flowers.
Therefore I got Jesus on eBay, and a more lifelike child you never did see. We had him on display in our home over Christmas and when my grandson saw him he was keen to wake him up!
After that it all changed. We had been in the third week of Advent when I, under the impression I now bore responsibility for the Christmas flowers for a large and busy church, sourced Jesus, the flower-arranging book etc, and went for a few walks to locate potential greenery in situ.
But when I got to speak to the flower lady, which wasn’t easy because she was busy, things weren’t how I thought. First off, the flower lady had already organised the flower arranging teams for Christmas and they had that all sewn up for the next few months and probably until Easter. Then I discovered the new flower lady would have to source the flowers for all the arrangers, and they would have to be got from edge-of-town supermarkets for cheapness. I could see the impossible bus journeys stacking up. And the flower lady must go in once or twice every week to refresh and replace everyone’s flowers. There were some other off-putting details as well, which I won’t go into here. Well . . . I had been up for organising a rota but not for flowers all the way.
So I concluded with regret that church flowers and me were not a marriage made in heaven, and backed off in haste.
So my Christmas manger scene with greenery and hellebores was never to be.
I was glad to see the back of the flower arranging book because when I read it I hated it. I found it easy enough to bung the foam blocks, scissors etc in the 365 and pass them on.
But Jesus . . . come on, now! You can’t Freecycle Jesus!
I did try asking a Methodist minister if she had any use for a liturgical baby, and sent her His picture, but she has tactfully not taken up the offer.
So I was wondering – has any of you a desire to offer a home to Jesus? He is not a child’s toy really. He’s what they call a ‘baby reborn’, with a doe-skin torso and three-quarter arms and legs. He has his own blue-and-white striped baby-gro with matching hat. He has black hair and is asleep. He is correctly weighted for a new-born child.
The only proviso I have is that if you have Him I would rather you not ever sell Him, though you can give Him to someone else as a gift if the time seems right. Jesus was bought and sold once on this Earth, and I don’t think that should happen again.
Let me know if you’d like Him.
I'll put the hay in the compost.