Tuesday 16 December 2008


Ok, call me a traditionalist if you like but i still think Disney's Mary Poppins has an essentail place at Christmas (and therefore in this advent calendar), that the newer stage show should never have been produced and that religion should be in the mix somewhere, somehow.

Not in Mary Poppins though.

I had a pretty standard Church of England upbringing, went to Bible Class, Sunday School, the Church Youth Club and even became a born again adolescent after a particularly fervent evangelical meeting i attended.

Very quickly though i found i was only praying just before exams and realising this constituted a fairly inapropriate use of religion, i decided to strike out on my own and see how i got on. the decision coincided with a holiday hitch-hiking around Ireland and for some reason i kept getting lifts from Nuns who would drive miles out of their way to put me back on the straight and narrow.

Christmas should have snow, and dark, and little white lights on green trees and for me a trip to midnight mass is as essential as it is disapointing. And thus my blog advent calendar has a bit of Christ in it.

There are two photos already from the Cathedral in Toulouse and today a story that the hoplessly sentimental side of my character finds unable to resist, especially as a door features as heavily as the lord.

I quote from the (probably) Reverend Ron Hutchcraft.

"When I was little, my dad used to drop me off at a nearby church so I could go to the Sunday school they had there. We weren't a church-type family, so what I saw and heard there was all new to me. And I remember this painting they had of Jesus. Now I know it's one of the most famous ones painted in modern times. You may have seen it. Jesus is in a garden, and He's knocking on what looks like a big oak door. The man who painted it was named Holman Hunt. And when he was ready to unveil it for the first time, he called his friends and family together to be the first ones to see it. Well, it was pretty quiet as each person stood there and drank in the deep feeling that that painting conveys. Then people began to comment on what impressed them about it. But one friend said hesitantly, "Uh, Holman - it's a beautiful painting. But didn't you forget something?" "What did I forget?" The friend said, "The handle. There's no handle on the door." To which the artist simply replied, "Oh! No, I didn't forget the handle. When Jesus knocks on the door of your heart, the handle is on the inside."

Ok, Ok, I'll balance things out tomorrow.

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