The Christmas Service

Reads: 358  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Noel stops off at a carol service one foggy Christmas Eve.

Submitted: December 23, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 23, 2016

A A A

A A A


Noel Charles dashed through the fog on his way home from work. He pulled his scarf up higher around his neck to keep the cold out and trudged on through the darkness. It didn’t really feel like Christmas Eve. He wasn’t feeling particularly festive at all. What was festive and joyful about rush hour traffic being made much worse by those heading for the Trafford Centre and any other shops they could think of? And work was a nightmare too. His customers seemed to forget it was coming upto Christmas. Chasing for their deliveries oblivious to the major holiday just days away. He felt like telling them the only person making deliveries now would be riding a sleigh.

Still, tomorrow when celebrating, drinking and eating with his family it would be fine. Through the thick mist he noticed the church up ahead. Light glowed from the open doors. Carol singing rang out into the night. Noel smiled. A Christmas carol service should help restore a bit of cheer to his mood.

 

The church was packed. He squeezed into a wooden pew shuffled along as more people followed in behind him. The atmosphere in the old gothic church was amazing. The voices had a haunting quality as the carols were sung with such gusto. The singing seemed to drift to the spire above and fill the high ceiling. Noel joined in as they launched into Once In Royal David’s  City. He looked around in the candle light. Everyone seemed so content. He felt like he was in an old black and white Christmas film.

 

The service carried on with Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Noel sang along. It was so uplifting. The strain of the days and weeks leading upto Christmas faded away. He felt a weight lifted from his shoulders and a joy and wonder in his heart. He would have to make sure he attended a carol service next year. He smiled to himself.

 

As they sang the opening to Little Drummer Boy Noel watched the happy, gleaming faces. He looked at those crammed into the pews on the other side of the aisle. He recognised a few of the faces. It took him a moment to place the faces. A shiver went through him. There was an elderly man with grey hair and thick glasses. Noel stared in shock. It was his grandfather. But the old feller had died years ago. His grandfather returned his gaze. He smiled at him and, as though to answer, nodded at him. Beside him was his great uncle, his grandfather’s brother. He gave Noel a quick wave as he sang. The man had died in the early Nineties yet here he was joining in with the service. An aunt who had died when Noel was in high school was beside them. She gave him a wink. Noel could  not believe what he was seeing. They had been dead for more than a decade yet here they were, as they had been in life. He turned and headed in their direction. He pushed down the narrow, packed pew. It was impossible. There were simply too many people crushed into the small space. It was like walking the wrong way against football fans heading out of the ground. He just couldn’t get through. He tried again to push through the people. He really wanted to reach his departed family but it was no use. He sighed. There was nothing else to do but find them on the way out of the church after the service.

He returned to the Christmas carols. He sang with the congregation and tried to enjoy the service.

 

Having sang most of the Carols he knew and a few he did not, the service ended. The people clapped respectfully.  The people turned and shuffled towards the doors. Noel pushed through the slow moving crowd. He tried not to lose sight of his relatives as they headed to the exit. He moved as quickly as he could. He walked down the aisle towards the doors. He spotted his grandfather, great uncle and aunt go outside. He shoved and squeezed and pushed as he tried to catch them.

He followed them out the door. He saw them walking away through the foggy darkness. He called out, walked quickly, almost at a sprint. His relatives had vanished into the mist.

An elderly man wearing a flat cap walked along side him as he left the churchyard.

Noel called out to him.

‘I have just seen-’

‘Aye,’ he said, ‘they come every year.’

The man stared ahead into the fog at the disappearing figures.

Merry Christmas, a faint female voice called.

‘You too, love.’  The man whispered.


© Copyright 2020 CTPlatt. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments