A Christmas Village And Inklings

Or, how I spent my weekend having exhausting fun. I’ve recently begun attending an Orthodox church, which had it’s annual Christmas Village and Market this last weekend. The structure itself was built a bit more than a hundred years ago by a Protestant group, and the Village proper, seen above, is in what was the original sanctuary but converted into general use space when they built a new sanctuary adjacent to it. The Village is made up of different vendors ranging from a man who makes stained glass items to one who does homemade soaps and such. There is even a special shop for the children, where most everything is a quarter, so that every child can afford to shop there.

I missed getting a photo of the bakery and cafe it seems, but there is food available. The cafe side had to raise prices this year for the obvious reasons, but there was a range of options and I stayed as far away from the bakery as I could. Lead me not into temptation…

There was a “General Store” area as well, with a variety of items for sale. This shows about half of it. I also failed to get a shot of the bookstore, which is one of the better religious bookstores in the area IMO. I love bookstores, though they are a danger to my budget.

Where I spent my time was in The Lamp Post. You may ask what a bar is doing in a church, even if it is right now strictly a coffee bar? There lies a tale, and it is part of what led me to visiting in the first place.

Look carefully at the bar. Very English, no? If you are familiar with good fiction, and modern Christian apologetics, you might even find it tugging at a corner of your mind. That’s because it is a reproduction of the bar in the “Bird and Baby” as the Inklings called The Eagle and Child pub where they met once a week. That’s why there are photos of C.S. Lewis (Anglican) and J.R.R. Tolkien (Catholic) on the wall.

I still don’t have the full tale, but somehow a C.S. Lewis museum at a university contacted the Church to see if they would like to have the reproduction. Given that the priest is a fan of C.S. Lewis, he said yes. A group rented a truck and made the trip to get it. I understand some refinishing and other work was done, and it now has a new home where it is hoped it might inspire discussions and conversations similar to what the Eagle and Child did for the Inklings.

There is still some work to be done on the room itself, and with luck I hope to be helping with that a small bit this winter. Mostly decorative, though the Deacon hopes to one day get the gas fireplace working, and they do need to have some rewiring done. Yes, it is possible that the ‘they’ may become a we as I am open to exploring and possibly joining the Orthodox Church. Not rushing anything, but I will say this Church has been amazingly welcoming and encouraging.

We did have a visit from Santa Lucia both Friday and Saturday (if you look behind her you can see the entrance to the bookstore). Saint Lucy was martyred by the Romans for feeding Christians hiding in the catacombs. To find her way around, and to help those hiding to find her, she wore a wreath of candles and white. I did not know of her following in Scandinavia however, in particular Sweden. It seems that during a famine, a ship was seen approaching a town with a woman in white, wearing a wreath of candles, standing in the bow. The ship came in and docked — and there was no one on board. Only much needed food. As a result, she’s extremely popular there. It’s hard to see, but there is a basket being held by our Lucia filled with a special bites of sweet bread which she gives out to everyone present.

There was a very good turnout this year, and I spent most of my time as greeter, explainer, and got into several good discussions on the Inklings, woodworking, and even into differences between Catholic and Orthodox services. Even clean-up wasn’t too bad. That said, I was dragging Sunday and noticed that a number of people who had worked the event skipped Sunday. Monday I rested a bit, but doing grocery shopping via bus and shanks mare yesterday have me a bit tired again.

More soon, but that’s what I’ve been up to since early Friday. My Christmas treat to myself is a book on the Inklings, which may be the first new book I’ve bought in almost two years. I think the last time I bought new books was just before I ended up having the open heart surgery.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.