Hot Off The Press: InSpire Winter 2014 – 12 December 2014
Exactly a year ago, I was sat in a barbers’ chair. It’s the only time in my life when I am ever forced to stare at myself for more than ten or fifteen seconds, and I remember thinking how horrific the sight in the reflection was. Tired-looking and periorbitally-puffy, I realised I was, for probably the first time, properly exhausted.
It wasn’t exactly surprising. I’d barely slept for days, not through worry or stress but rather through the intensely busy time I’d had in the preceding days. Preparations for Christmas (a week away) at home, at school, and at church had been rather overtaken by the more immediate St Luke’s Christmas Tree Festival.
Looking back at my calendar, I’m amazed I managed it. During my lunchbreak on the Wednesday, I went to help move the trees from the van in which they came into church, then went back to school for the rest of the school day. The afternoon included the presentation of project work from my DofE Gold expedition; the school Christmas concert; and the editing of a video shot earlier that day. The next night was just as busy: carol-singing around the parish; photographing the display of trees at church; and putting the final pages of the Christmas InSpire edition together.
The result, though, was utter sleep deprivation. And I promised myself I’d never do it again.
Predictably, of course, I have, because needs must. Wednesday was very busy, meaning I didn’t get to bed until 4:00am or so on Thursday morning. But slow image processing tonight on Lightroom rather prolonged what should have been the relatively simple task of finishing the comping of the magazine. I think there was more that needed doing than I had really bargained for.
And so it is 5:33am on Friday and I am only now calling it a night. In the morning the PDFs will be printed, ready to go on sale in 28 pages of glorious technicolour, as the Christmas Tree Festival opens to the public later today.
But my work now is done.
Ladies and gentlemen I give you: the Winter 2014/15 edition of InSpire.
A Note From The Editor
InSpire Editorial Column by Andrew Burdett
When does Christmas begin? Technically, of course, not until 25 December, when the first partridge drops onto the doormat and the ‘twelve days of Christmas’ begin.
In some countries (among them Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, and, of all places, Ethiopia) Christmas is not celebrated until 7 January – the result of using the old Julian calendar. By contrast, in the Philippines, they get going extremely early – and drag it out for as long as possible. Formal celebrations begin only on 16 December, but it’s said that Filipinos can be heard singing carols as early as September. (And you thought you’ve already grown sick of Wonderful Christmastime?!)
Bringing it back to Britain, there are many signs that supposedly herald Christmas as being ‘nearly upon us’ – too many, I sometimes think. For a lot of people, carol services mark the start of the season. For others, it’s the primary-school nativity productions. Your Christmas may begin by watching washed-up ‘celebrities’ pulling a comedy plunger and switching on a town’s Christmas lights – or, possibly, you face the mobs in the detestable, relatively modern, alien import, ‘Black Friday’.
Look, as lovely as that all supposedly is, really it is all just distraction from the main event – the star of the show, the saviour of the universe… Baby J himself.
I’ve come to bemoan my annually growing list of ‘Christmas traditions’, but one welcome addition in recent years has been the church’s very own Christmas Tree Festival. I love taking time to sit quietly, keeping myself to myself, and just thinking about things. It’s something I know that I don’t make enough time to do on a day-to-day basis, so it’s wonderful to have the space and silence in which to do so, during what is otherwise a very hectic and busy time.
Wishing you a very happy Christmas.