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 www.billmallonee.net - 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.