My first visit to the Parent and Toddler group was its Christmas party yesterday. Arriving a few minues after it had begun, my Anglican colleague Jane was relieved to see me. “Good, you can be Father Christmas rather than me,” she said. And so I took on a rôle I have never performed before, yet another part of the minister’s duty that theological college never prepares you for.
The trousers were made for someone with the girth of Bernard Manning, not me. But I pulled them up and then tightened the elastic string that substituted for a belt. I had put the trousers on the wrong way round, but I was blowed if I was going to take them off and mess around again. I put on the jacket, which had not buttons, nor any Velcro to fix it. I then juggled the combined hat and beard, and put my glasses back on, which began to steam up.
I awaited my call and went into the hall dutifully telling all the children they had been good. I don’t have the deep voice to do the ‘Ho, ho, ho’ routine too convincingly, but it all seemed to go well enough, and I made my cheery exit.
It was then that Jane told me that as I left the trousers had fallen around my ankles. I hasten to add I was fully clothed beneath the costume: otherwise perhaps I would have been alerted to the calamity earlier.
I think you have two choices with this story: either you can use it as an illustration of some profound thought (perhaps about the way we cover up our real selves).
Or you can just laugh.
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