Here is a quick catch up of some of our Christmas activities and news.
The parish Christmas Concert was a hit, with the children’s choir, a visiting ‘pensioners’ choir, the church band, and various soloists. Here are a few pictures:
The school Christmas services went well, including 2 of last years confirmands who bravely stepped up to sing a duet in front of their whole school:
We are learning to re-arrange our calenders to make use of free time, and that meant English Christmas dinner on Saturday 21st December, celebrated with friends from Norway and Afghanistan. Sarah found time to make a home made flaming Christmas pudding:
Christmas Eve (Julaften) is when Norwegians celebrate Christmas. This represents a shift in the last 50 or so years, away from actual Christmas Day. 9 of the 11 buildings where our congregations meet have services that afternoon, plus a couple of the old peoples centres, with about 1300 people attending (that’s about 15% of the population. For Sarah it meant a lot of traveling (3 services, 80 miles / 131 km), and for me it meant a lot of organising and people (2 services, 800 people, junior choir, band and a visiting adult choir). Sorry, there was no time to take pictures!
Christmas Day itself for the few Norwegians who do celebrate ‘properly’ means a festival (although rather solemn) service – very different from the typical English ‘show and tell’ family service. Attendance 80 across 2 services. Afterwards we enjoyed Christmas dinner with some friends, which turned out to be not so different from English Christmas Dinner (including sprouts, but excluding Christmas pudding / Christmas cake / mince pies). Again, no time to stop for pictures!
Boxing Day / Andre juledag is the feast of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr (read Acts 6:8 – 7:51). It used to be widely observed in Norway, but now has become an extension to Christmas day, with one service in the remaining chapel which didn’t get a service on the 24th or 25th. It was miserable weather, with little more than grey twilight and treacherous walking / driving conditions due to ice and rain. So again, no pictures.