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News from the Vicarage - December 2015

Dear Friends,

We prepare this December to joyfully celebrate Christmas. The four weeks before Christmas we call Advent, which is a solemn time to get ready for Christmas. When the colour in church is purple, there are no flowers, we don't sing the 'gloria' and we sing more solemn hymns. For the four Sundays of Advent we light a candle in the Advent Crown, one for each Sunday and the middle one at Christmas. Many will have Advent calendars marking down our days to Christmas. We don't over indulge. So we can build up a sense of excited anticipation, looking forward to celebrating the great feast of Christmas. In Church we explore the readings which show us why God sent His only Son into the world to be born in a stable in Bethlehem, to show his love for us.

While the shops have had their Christmas decorations up since November and many households put their decorations up at the beginning of December let us Christians try to say that Christmas begins on Christmas Day and continues until Epiphany the 6th January, when we take our decorations down on Twelfth Night. Our decorations should go up on Christmas Eve or only a day or two before. Let us try to put Christ back into Christmas; statistics show us a horrifying number of people have no idea that Christmas has anything to do with Jesus, the Christ.

Let us joyfully welcome people who only come at this time of year. We have our Christingle Service on Sunday 20' December at 10.15am, when we use an orange to represent the world, the nuts and raisins to mean the fruits of the earth, the red ribbon to represent the blood of Christ shed for us, and the candle to remind us of Christ, the light of the world. We decorate the church after the fourth Sunday in Advent and the tree on the Wednesday when we have our traditional Carol Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at 630pm. Children and families can come to our Crib Service on Christmas Eve at 6pm when our Sunday School tells us the story of Christmas, and is a lot of fun!

Then the great celebration of Christmas, the Midnight Mass at 11 .30pm when we will be using our new Gold Vestments and putting the baby Jesus in the crib. Christmas would not be Christmas without coming to church to celebrate the birth of Christ. I hope everyone will be able to join us for one or more of our truly inspiring services and feel the love of Christ in your hearts. May it be a truly family occasion. May the message of love and peace enter our bleak and dark world. God loves us so much that he sent His only Son into the world that we might have life, and life in all its fullness.

A Holy Advent and Merry Christmas,

 

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar