A welsh village with its streets blocked off and a few adult Santas and the shepherds with the obligatory tea towels walking about aimlessly. Freezing air amidst the smell of hamburgers and the festive flash of glow sticks, glow swords and flashing headbands. Youngsters hurtling about with cheery Christmas expressions flung at each other in expletives. Festive cans of spray streamers sprayed onto and into everything. The mayor laden with medals like a tree and the town crier ringing a large brass bell and shouting who knows what in a foreign welsh-like language. There in the middle of the street stands a donkey, ears twitching with a hint of spray streamer stuck to its fur. Mary and Joseph nearby with yet more tea towels wound around them to keep out the bitter cold. Stalls interspersed with more glow sticks and swords, fluffy slippers and dark mysteries at the back of unlit corners of tables. Shops open late and customers cramming in to warm up. Steaming cups of coffee and chips. MMMMM chips. Territorial army festive band drumming and marching with tinsel wrapped around the drums. Bang bang bang. Back up the street the donkey and Mary and Joseph have disappeared, leaving, well leaving something hot and steaming in the middle of the road. Next down the road a mince pie race at full tilt. Erm has anyone got a shovel? A shovel anyone A SHOVEL.. Never mind and too late ..oh ..um... Off to the side and in one corner a space machine with two seats turning and twisting inside its little metal cage.. Sit inside if you feel young enough and you get turned and turned and turned faster and faster and slower and faster and upside and inside and which side is what side and where is anything anymore... The all male choir has at last assembled on wooden tiered steps. In front of them is the crib with a blanket wrapped around..could be a log, definitely not a glow stick, possibly someone's baby. Thats it where have Mary and Joseph gone???? Their baby is here. The donkey ? anyone seen the donkey? Well some have seen more of the donkey than they wished to but at the moment no-one knows where it is. The first carol begins after much giving out of red booklets. Sounds like Hark the Herald tune but not the words. The female vocalist with the microphone sings and it comes over the tannoy system on the 4x4 belonging to the mayor. Then the shepherds gather by the crib. This parentless, donkeyless child has more visitors than Santas grotto. Has ANYONE seen the donkey? Well erm..No don't show me your shoes..has anyone seen Mary and Joseph??? Gone home?? what do you mean gone home??? The kings come onto the scene at just the right point and probably the right words but who can tell. The female vocalist is telling people to imagine the nativity scene in all its fullness as some of its fullness is missing.
Then there is a whole street full of people singing and suddenly it is full of harmonics and blending and rich tones, sopranos, and tenors coming out of the spaces of woolly hats and tousled hair. This surging melody spiraling and rising above and beyond the fairy lights, the hot soup and mulled wine, past the roof tops, up and up and straight into the heart of all and everything everywhere and just like that something changes forever,...and just maybe, maybe Christmas has come that bit closer for those that did and didn't notice.