Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas thoughts and greetings

It's Christmas Eve - one of my favourite days of the year. This year being a Sunday, it'll also be a busy one. We have two services and this afternoon will be serving mince pies, mulled (non-alcoholic) wine, tea and coffee to shoppers wending their way home, inviting them to pause and worship with us.

This evening I'm reflecting on Joseph - the 'redundant groom' in John Bell's wonderful phrase. I'm looking at what the Christmas story might say to ordinary, decent blokes.

I'd intended to focus on Jo already but my train of thought was sent off in a more focussed direction by Timothy Garton Ash's column in the Guardian last Thursday where he reports going to Christmas services, finding them moving but not believing a word of it. More than that, he finds the story and the person behind it has nothing to say to his life or to the world in which he lives it.

I'll reflect on that this evening. It's worth reading - everything by Garton Ash is.

I'll also be referring to Bill Mallonee's Christmas album. Bill, former front man of the Vigilantes of Love, has penned some beautiful songs over the years; he is the most thoughtful and searching of Christian singer songwriters. Check Yonder Shines the Infant Light out - a snip at £5.50 to download - and especially listen to the beautiful Every Father Knows, a meditation on the power of the Christmas story to reach the lost wherever they are. You'll find it at - you won't be sorry.

I'll return to membership, community and mission in the New Year. In the mean time have a great Christmas everyone. I hope you all meet Jesus in the midst of the celebrations and that you know his presence with you throughout 2007.


Philip Magee said...

Christmas time is often time when people may come along to church that dont normally. Often too people are maybe wondering what is the reason behind the season. It is good to make most of that opportunity. How did the services go?

simon said...

Hi Philip,
Thanks for asking, the services went really well. we had a lot of visitors at the evening service on Christmas Eve - some of whom stayed on after having mince pies and mulled wine on our forecourt (so that worked). We get people who come each year either for the music or because they're staying with family members who attend. I've had some positive feedback. The proof will be that some people will start coming to church ovfer the next few weeks as a result of dipping a toe in the water at Christmas.