Julotta

Here in Sweden Christmas is celebrated as much on Christmas Eve as on Christmas Day itself. We awoke early yesterday morning to falling snow – a white Christmas at last, our first since we came to Sweden, the first Christmas snow for seven years in Örebro. Maria worked yesterday morning and the kids and I went to church. In the evening Maria’s family were here to eat, drink and be merry, and to open presents…

This morning, while the rest of the family was asleep, I walked down to our local parish church, Almbykyrkan, to the early Christmas morning service, which is called Julotta (no idea why). At 6.30 this morning it was very dark,  the sky full of stars and the snow crunchy underfoot, with the temperature seven degrees below. It was still dark when I walked back up the hill with my friend Anders after the service.

In the clear cold light of the early afternoon I went back to take a photo of the church. Almbykyrkan was founded back in the 1100s. There was something awesome about thinking of believers gathering there every Christmas for nearly 900 years to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

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