The wintry weather continues to take its toll on our round of Christmas services. Two masses were cancelled on Sunday, although the carol service here at St Arvans did take place on schedule, despite the absence of a number of people who travel in from outside the parish boundaries. Still, a congregation of eighty, plus choir and musicians, wasn't bad, given the snow and the ice.
Last night, another carol service in a much more rural setting, St Deiniol's, Itton, and with even more treacherously icy and snow-bound approach roads to the church, went ahead and was attended by seventy five hardy men, women and children. Things are not quite grinding to a halt as yet. Most of our Christmas masses and carol services will go ahead as planned.
We have had to admit defeat, however, at another of our churches, Holy Cross, Kilgwrrwg. The site of the church dates from the eighth century and is at the top of a low hill in the middle of a field about a quarter of a mile from a metalled track. The road leading there descends precipitiously from the ridge into the Usk Valley; even 4x4s are now failing to reach the church and the farmhouse. So no Christmas Eve carol service or Christmas Day mass there this year. Perhaps next year, despite the North Atlantic Oscillation (a natural phenomenon, not man-made climate change in this instance), will see a milder winter.
Some good news from the BBC. Pope Benedict has recorded Radio 4's Thought for the Day for Christmas Eve. [Details here.] Perhaps they should try to persuade the Holy Father to do this more often; it would be good to have in this slot, on a regular basis, someone actually worth listening to!