One of the things I’ve noticed about the Christmas story is how much of a team effort it was to get everything to happen. God, despite not really needing any help, seems to find it fun to involve people in His plans. Mary had a particular role to play that only she could fulfil (!), but Joseph, the Shepherds, the Wise Men, the angels and other characters like Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna were all given a chance to act or speak into what was happening at the arrival of God’s Son, Emmanuel. And then we find ourselves involved in the Christmas story – who do we think Jesus is? What is our response to the idea that God is with us and how can we play our part? Being involved in God’s bigger story is what church is about.
What struck me this year is how much of a team effort it is for us to get anything to happen at church at all. Last Sunday we had our carol service at St John’s followed by Christmas market. The church was very full (we ran out of service sheets and hymn books!) and the hall was a scrum of cheerful people of all ages trying to snaffle some mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas goodies. The event was a total success.
How did last Sunday happen? Well, there were those who helped in usual ways throughout the day keeping our church services ticking over and running smoothly at both St Mary’s and St John’s, whether it was suppling clean linen, keeping the grounds tidy, setting up for and serving communion, playing music or reading, in private or public prayer, counting the collection, serving teas and coffees or on a rota or some other way. Rachel Michael spoke at our services in the morning, Rev Oli spoke at our carol service later. There were the singers and readers at the carols, Kevin on piano, Linda, Ruth and others who helped set up, welcome and then tidy up the church. The Christmas market was brought together expertly by Tina and Katy, ably assisted by Bryony, with the Ardron family contributing from the kitchen. Veronica and Jan led guests in wreath-making. Nicola, Rachel Burnell and Pauline ran stalls. Lots of people contributed mince pies and other goodies. And then there was everyone who came to the services – thinking especially of those who brought friends and family of all ages in the dark and cold to enjoy the carols and market. So, a huge thank you to all of you from both congregations for generously getting involved – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!