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Christmas 2013

posted 4 Feb 2014, 12:20 by Ann Redhead
Christmas at St Andrews was a busy time- like all churches I suppose - full of its hustle and bustle, merriment and mirth. (Merriment and mirth in a Methodist church? )
A must, I would say, with today’s pressures of time, that Christians above all have sense of humor that can be shared with others to break the ice and hard exteriors that many people seem to have developed to help them get through the days.
Early December and the church had its Festival of Christmas Trees and Cribs along side its Christmas Fayre. The people came, in their hundreds, to be dazzled by the Christmas trees (never mind the electric bill) that filled the church with beauty – many organizations having spent many hours getting them to look just right.
Nestled among the trees were Cribs and their Nativity scenes in many different styles each giving individual interpretations of the well know scene of the babe in a manger meanly laid.
Opportunities taken to sit and chat a while, may be take a coffee or a cup of tea, with those who would otherwise not come across the threshold of our church or just to sit in silence and listen for the choirs of exultation or the reindeer dashing through the snow.
The Christmas Show…round about the second Saturday in December we have taken to putting om some sort of event. We have had music shows and a panto/play/nativity and this year wanted something different. After thought and prayer we invited Tony Magic to come and present Advent and Christmas through “Magic” and through the Word. A celebration, with supper, of Gods’ gift of love and hope in the form of his Son born as a babe. A reminder that advent is not just to celebrate the birth of Jesus but to be prepared for when he returns to bring the promised eternal life to all who believe. There were some new faces to be seen, young ones and old ones and the faces of some who had not been seen for quite a while. People were fed and watered and told of God’s love for them.
A week later and it is time for some carol singing at one of the many care homes that are now to be found around Washington and then to one of the local pubs. The weather was not very Christmas like, no gentle flakes of snow descending rather a howling wind and driving rain. We were thankful to be inside and warm while we gave witness. Musical accompaniment was provided by the NAS/UWT prize winning band as we sang the Christmas story and sang requests. Noel, Noel and Peace on Earth intertwined with Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer, White Christmas and so much more. All was listened to and appreciated in both the venues we attended and then we recovered to the church were the Scouts provided hot bread buns and soup just right to fight the cold. For some, including me, it was time to go home though the scouts and some church members remained to prepare the Christingles for the service the following day.
Sunday 23rd was a busy day at church. A traditional(?) service of readings and was it 10 or was it 11 carols each sang with enthusiasm that would have but the Big Sing to shame was followed by the Christmas dinner and a time to share in fellowship. Once again Ann and her team worked wonders to serve a 4 course meal - coffee or tea to follow with an after eight mint - that would grace any eatery, to expectant guests in hats with crackers and their silly jokes….
“How do you toast a monkey (please note no animals were hurt in the making of this dinner ) - put him under the gorilla “ was about the best of what I heard.
Now, you would think that would be enough for one day but no the Christingle service followed and that itself was chased up by coffee, hot chocolate and mince pies. Talk about a full church..!! The crush area was full and people were overflowing into the entrance lobby so much so that I think the church mouse left the building to find some space. Wonderful to see the church so full with Scouts and Cubs and Badgers and yet another pile of washing up to be sorted…
You know it would be great to have to wash up that many mugs every Sunday following a service – really who would mind – that the church was full of people responding to Gods love, listening to his calling - as it would surely be a sign of the Holy Spirit at work - the seed been sown and has taken root and the people have become the people of God
We try to get the message out that Gods love for us is just like ours for our pets…
Not just for Christmas.
He loves us all the time. We may never know when, where or in whom something that we have done or said has changed someone’s direction or planted the seed of hope. All we can do is seek to continue putting the GOOD NEWS out there in whatever way we can and take whatever opportunity we can to say to whomever we can GOD LOVES YOU.