Sunday, 19 December 2010
Saturday, 11 December 2010
I calculated I have to buy 36 presents before Christmas which is in precisely 15 days, 13 hours, 26 minutes, 12 seconds and counting. I have to write three times as many Christmas cards, order a turkey, a plethora of cheeses, decide what special super, duper, knock the pants of my guests pudding I am going to make for boxing day, make 30 gingerbread men, wrap all the presents once I’ve bought them (oh joy of joys – I’m not cut out to be a Blue Peter presenter if you get my drift) and oh, loads more things that I can’t even bear to think about otherwise I will start sweating and shaking.
For me, the best thing about preparing for Christmas is that you can drink alcohol pretty much any time of the day without people asking too many questions. However, even as I sit here contemplating the real meaning of Christmas even the alcohol doesn’t offer much comfort. I mean, ”what’s it all about?”
Surely writing a card with a special, personal message that brings joy to the person reading it should be a pleasure? Planning a delicious meal to delight the family and friends should create a warm, healthy glow in one’s cheeks (or is that the alcohol again?!)
When you strip away all the baubles and bling basically Christmas is about one baby in a manger, one baby that was so special the angels could be heard singing from heaven, one baby so special wise men travelled for miles to worship him, one baby so special we are still worshiping him today.
So why don’t we do that? Rather than dashing from one carol concert to a nativity play jamming in a bit of shopping in between and making sure we have the best lights display in the whole neighbourhood lets just stop all this nonsense and take time out to really immerse ourselves in the true meaning of Christmas.
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Have you bought the turkey, written your cards or is the manic season just beginning for you?
How are you really going to celebrate Christmas this year?
St Paul’s has some great services to help you get into the true spirit of Christmas. At Christmas time the church looks wonderful, decorated with its enormous Christmas tree and beautiful star hanging from the old, beamed rafters.
The carols by candlelight on Sunday 19th December really starts Christmas for me. It is a time to sing for joy but also to reflect on the meaning of Christmas. On Christmas Eve we shall be definitely going to one of the 3 Christingle services as a family. These services are especially for children, though people of all ages would enjoy this. Christingle services are identical at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm, where you will hear the Christmas story and watch the nativity scene build up before your eyes with a real live Mary and baby Jesus. The children receive a ‘Christingle orange’ complete with sweets and a candle to represent the fruits of the earth and Jesus being the light of the world. The church is always packed and the buzz and excitement is contagious.
Midnight Holy Communion on Christmas Eve at 11pm is a beautiful quiet service and there is something special about singing carols so late into the night to welcome Christmas day.
We have family over for Christmas Day and there will be three generations of us going to the Family Celebration on Christmas morning. There are two celebrations one at 9.30am and one at 11.15am. These are lively events complete with singing and a poignant message aimed at all ages. Then hundreds of balloons are released into the church to celebrate the birth of Jesus. If you prefer something quiet there is a gentle holy communion at 8am. There are so many services to choose from but if you really want to get into the true spirit of Christmas why not go to them all?!