are we there yet?

i can’t remember an advent quite this busy or complicated. It was partly self-induced, but other things ended up on my desk or in my calendar that were quite out of my control.

Last night was the last of the things I have to ‘perform’ before Christmas Day. I was in Port Phillip Prison with Ross, the UCA chaplain; we were leading worship in the Marlborough Unit, which houses men with intellectual disabilities and acquired brain injuries. I saw some old friends there, a few who had been out and come back, and met some new guys. The very best thing was seeing Alf and Trevor who wrote a couple of psalms when we did that last year in the unit, and giving them copies of the ‘Hold This Space’ book [available through Proost] in which they are published. They were a bit chuffed.

We arrived as the men were finishing dinner, just after 5pm, and worship started around 6, so we chatted for a while. The men would come up one by one and tell their stories of what was happening at home, of lawyers and appeals, of loneliness and longing. For some of the men, the Marlborough Unit is the best and safest home they have known. For them, getting out of prison is a terrifying thing. The world isn’t safe.

We’ll be back there to do worship on Christmas Day next week. I woke up with an idea for that service in the middle of last night, which I wrote down at the time, but I’m too scared to look at it in case it’s crap!

I got home and was flicking randomly through some websites, something i haven’t done for weeks. There’s lots of talk about the Advent Conspiracy stuff, which looks brilliant… and which I’m all for in theory. But you know, I just felt guilty. I’ve got nothing left of myself to give to anyone this year. I just thank god that christmas presents are an option.