What a wonderful Christmas!
Thank you Horton and Wraysbury for such an excellent Christmas! The Christmas Tree Festival was a fantastic launch for the season - see previous log. Other events then came very quickly one after another...
The Carol Service on 22 Dec was beautiful and very moving. The choir had clearly worked very hard to produce an excellent sound, but it was more than that - they were passionate about what they sang. It came across as an uplifting time of praise. It was a special blessing to have my colleague Carolyn, who leads Wraysbury Baptist church, and her husband Robin, in the choir for the event. Isn't that how it's supposed to be, with the Christian family coming together in worship? Anyway, their voices really lifted us up.
Then it was the Christingle service at St Michael's. Like the Carol Service, this was absolutely packed with people of all ages. I'd been told I would be amazed, and they weren't wrong! There was a very special atmosphere, sometimes boisterous, sometimes deep and reflective.
Unfortunately Ruth the donkey, star of the event in years past, was too unwell to make it this time, so we gave her our thoughts and a special award of carrots. In Ruth's absence I borrowed a fluffy lamb from Bea and we decided not to call her Baa-naby or Baa-tholomew or Ewe-nice or Lamb-ert but Baa-bara. Isn't she cute? Thank you Bea!
So Baabara helped me tell the story of how the Good Shepherd became a Lamb. You should be able to find her talk on the next post.
Midnight Mass back at St Andrew's was another occasion with a very special atmosphere. Attendance was amazing considering the terrible weather. Even though it was thumping it down and all the puddles in the church path joined together to make one continuous stream, we were packed out again. This time we were a bit more theological and reflected on Christmas changes everything. Our understanding of God, humanity, ourselves and our struggles are all transformed if we take seriously the outworking of God coming to share in our human flesh and blood in Jesus. Again I've put my thoughts in another post.
And God still takes on human form among us today. None of this brilliant Christmas (and there was lots more I haven't got time to write about) would have happened without the enthusiasm, creativity, commitment and sheer hard work of my brothers and sisters, who came into church at all hours, locked up again even later, prayed, sang their hearts out, sorted the hymnbooks, fired our imaginations, brewed coffee, welcomed strangers, turned our church into a wonderland - you name it.
The Bible name for God operating through the unity of his people, with each one playing a very different and vital role, is the body of Christ. We are his hands and feet, his ears and eyes... So Jesus didn't just take flesh and blood long ago at the first Christmas. He takes human form again in Wraysbury and in Horton, today. It's a great thing to be part of. Thank you for letting me be part of it with you this Christmas.
Happy New Year everyone!
Colin x x