Earlier today I was talking to Rosa, a lady for whom I do a bit of cleaning. Rosa is 99 years young, is fabulous, and there may well be a post dedicated to her sometime soon, but that’s for another day. During the course of our conversation I mentioned the fact that two weeks today will be Christmas Day. Today is an ordinary Wednesday, next week will be a normal Wednesday, the week after will be anything but normal. This got me thinking about the way everything stops for one day of the year on Christmas Day – well, it does in the countries that celebrate Christmas. Even the furniture shops are closed, allowing overworked shop staff a day off before they’re required back, bright and early, for the Boxing Day sales. On Christmas morning people are out and about, driving off to see friends or family, the faithful heading for church, the less faithful (that’s me!) heading for the pub, but by mid afternoon all is calm. Quiet. Still.
I remember glancing out at the main road about five o’clock one Christmas afternoon, and there wasn’t a soul about. Normally the road is rammed at that time with people returning home from work, but on Christmas evening not one single car went by. Even the A14 was quiet, and there’s normally the sound of traffic coming from that ridiculously busy stretch of road at all hours of the day and night. The silence was astonishing, and really quite eerie. In two weeks time my calendar, my phone, my computer will all tell me it’s Wednesday 25th December, I won’t think of it as a Wednesday. It’ll be Christmas Day.
Of course I realise that some people have to work on Christmas Day. People don’t stop getting ill or needing care just because the rest of us have a day off. I wonder what Christmas is like for these dedicated people. Does it seem like Christmas Day? Or will it simply be another Wednesday? If you work on Christmas Day perhaps you’d let me know, and in return I’d like to take the opportunity to say ‘Thank you.’