We had formed a kind of production line at long tables set up all along the church aisle and manufacture was in full swing. I hadn’t known, when I set off for church as usual on Sunday morning, that I would find
myself sitting at a trestle table, juggling small wooden figures, paper bags, sellotape and small chocolate figures of You Know Who.
We were a captive audience
as, if we chose to stay for a cup of coffee and a biscuit after the morning service (and, obviously, as one who is Always Thinking About Her Stomach I would always be one of the first in the queue at the coffee machine) we were honour bound to drink it (or,
in the case of the biscuit, munch it) while sitting at a table as part of the Nativity Production Line.
As part of a forthcoming Festival of Nativities, the plan
is to make every child visiting the church a gift of a wooden nativity scene. They will have to assemble the nativity themselves so inside the gift bag they will find (i) a base; (ii) a manger; (iii) a Joseph; (iv) a Mary; and (v) a donkey. Hence my job, and
that of my fellows, was to take a pack containing the wherewithal for three nativity scenes, and divide the wooden pieces into three sets before filling gift bags and sealing them with sellotape. Always remembering to include a small chocolate Santa figure
in each bag.
All along the table could be heard calls for help:
“Does anybody have a spare donkey?”
“This packet only has two mangers, I’m one short!” And my favourite:
“I seem to have two Josephs and only one Mary!”
One of the issues is that
it is extremely difficult to differentiate between Joseph and Mary except that Joseph is very slightly taller. Though even that is not easy to see, considering both wooden figures are kneeling down...
I don’t have too much time to play with as I have promised Mr B he can expect me back by 11.45 a.m. I have, moreover, written it on his whiteboard and, as regular readers know, there is no arguing with a whiteboard.
Had I known in advance that I would be required on Important Nativity Related Business, then I would have stretched my projected absence to 12 noon but, as it was, I was on Borrowed Time.
How many gift bags could I fill, I wondered, in the twenty minutes at my disposal? Compared with the rest of my family, I am not in the least competitive - but present me with a challenge, as in how many bags can I fill with donkeys,
mangers, Josephs and Marys, and I am On Fire. Not literally, obviously, but you should have seen my fingers flying. I was fortunate in having a helper who took on the fiddly task of sealing all the bags with sellotape. Had I had to apply the Sticky Stuff,
I reckon my productivity would have dipped alarmingly.
I felt quite guilty quitting the production line at a little before 11.45 a.m. especially when my Sellotape
Helper accused me of “chickening out” but I did feel as if, in the time allowed, I had done my level best.
On the way home my thoughts turned to my
dear friend Steph who organised several Nativity Festivals, the last of them only months before she died, far too early, far too young, still so much missed. Her favourite exhibit was a miniature nativity scene carved inside a real walnut. It was so very beautiful,
so detailed, so, well, tiny...
Now that would have been a real Sunday Morning Challenge.