Three Chairs (Hip Hip Hooray!)

Chair 1: Yesterday I went to Grandson-Luca’s ‘Red Oak Primary School’ for their ‘Christmas Big Sing’. In the school hall we sat on small squashed-together primary-school-sized chairs. Sitting between two big-coated mums of larger dimensions I felt like the dormouse squashed between the Mad Hatter and the March Hare at Alice’s tea party.

A full hall… young parents with babies, older grandparents… a wonderful variety of people… The children sang Christmas songs, we clapped. The children read Christmas poems. We clapped some more. Children looked proud of their achievements; parents looked proud of their children. I forgot about the chairs.

Chair 2: At the Church of St Mary the Virgin in North London… In July 2022, as part their 150-year anniversary celebrations, they bought upholstered chairs… white, blue, pink and lavender. They liked the bright colours and thought it was a lovely colour scheme.

The chairs were bought without the Church of England’s approval. They’ve been asked to remove the pink and lavender chairs. Apparently a ‘muted’ shade should have been purchased. Multi-coloured seating could ‘cause puzzlement’ and ‘induce thoughts that the church had been unable to find enough upholstered chairs of the same colour’.

Our ‘Seagull Theatre’ carols on Monday included a reading from Dicken’s ‘Christmas Carol’. The Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to Bob Cratchit’s house where Bob and his family are enjoying their Christmas dinner. There’s feasting, enjoyment, warmth and disabled Tiny Tim says ‘God bless us every one’.

Yesterday at Red Oak we sung:
‘…It’s the season
Love and understanding
Merry Christmas everyone.’

Musing… ‘Everyone’… Chair 3: Scrooge asks about Tiny Tim’s future. The ghost replies: ‘I see a vacant seat in the poor chimney corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the future, the child will die.

What’s important isn’t the colour or size of the chairs, but ‘Everyone’. Filling all of the chairs with individuals – so that all – rich, poor, able and dis-abled – are included.

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