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Views from the Vicarage - December 2017

Dear Friends,

It seems that Christmas is in full swing. The Christmas Decorations have been up in the shops for weeks and many homes have started putting up their Christmas Trees and decorations too. Many have got stuck into their Christmas shopping as well. But wait a minute!

Christmas actually starts with the birth of Christ at Christmas and the tree was traditionally put up on Christmas Eve and stayed up fçr the twelve days of Christmas to be taken down on the eve of Epiphany 6 January - the feast of the Kings. It may seem great to start cheering yourself up now by starting Christmas early, and yes the decorations do look wonderful but you could easily be christmased out by Boxing Day. The church has become a bit countercultural here. We still keep a time of preparation for Christmas which we call Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas, preparing for the coming of Christ. We hear, in our readings in church, of the prophecies in the Old Testament of the coming of the Messiah, the Christ. Of the preparing of His Way by John the Baptist and the angel Gabriel telling Mary she is to bear a son who is Emmanuel - God with us. There are no flowers, no Gloria, no Alleluias and the penitential colour of purple right up to Christmas. So we are encouraged to refrain from too much rich food and drink and celebrations before Christmas so we can really appreciate and enjoy Christmas, the birth of Christ our saviour.

Humbug you may say, but it works for me and the church. We may have a little argument as to when exactly the Christmas tree will go up but having held back on the festivities I will enjoy Christmas all the more and I will have properly prepared for this tremendous event of God becoming one of us - the Incarnation, the Word, the divine Logos made flesh.

On Advent Sunday 3rd December there is an Ecumenical Service for Advent 6.30pm at the Convent, S. Michael's RC Church. On the Third Sunday of Advent 17th December at 10.15am is our Christingle Service - Christlight - when we are all given oranges (the world) with candles in them (the light of Christ) and the red ribbon around it (the blood of Christ) and the sticks with fruits and sweets on them the fruits of the earth). The collection this Sunday goes to the Children's Society.

We have the traditional Carol Service of Nine Lessons and Carols on the eve of Christmas Eve 6.30pm Saturdy 23rd December. Then on Christmas Eve we have the popular Crib Service at 6pm, and the most important service of Christmas, Midnight Mass at 11.30pm. And our usual services on Christmas Day.

I am hoping for a warmer church this year, as at this moment a new boiler is being fitted which should be more efficient and reliable and more controllable, or so I expect. We also welome two School Carols Services of Cockshutt and Criftins on Thursday 7th Dec at 6pm and Ellesmere Primary on Wednesdy 13th also at 6pm.

And don't forget our Christmas Coffee Morning and Grand Draw on Saturday 2nd Dec at 10.30am in the Town Hall.

Wishing you a good Advent and a Merry Christmas.

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar