Christmas is a time for giving

My oldest friend Bruce Guthrie used to do a fine mock-homily, gently taking the piss out of the Church of England as she was practised in North Somerset in the late 1970s. It always started with him clasping his hands together and earnestly proclaiming “Christmas… is a time for giving.”

And as I’m sitting here watching the midnight eucharist on TV, it’s in the spirit of giving that I give you this story which I will attribute to Claire Bolderson. Apologies if I have misremembered this, Claire.

There was a televised mass coming from St Patrick’s Catholic cathedral in New York. At a crucial point in the mass where the sacramental bread was offered up, the TV director shouted down the talkback for one of the cameramen to “close up on the Host! Close up on the host!”.

The cameraman, who was Jewish, naturally took this as an instruction to zoom in on the officiating priest.

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