Not so good for the turkey! – may be an appropriate response, but as it is getting near to ‘twelfth night’ some reflection on the Christmas celebrations that have just passed is prompted with, hopefully, an eye to their significance for the year that lies ahead.
For me, the theme of each worship occasion over this Christmas has focussed in some way on the present, our experience of the Christ who is born and our part in enabling a reality and relevance in the world of the 21st century.
Advent began with a ‘shoe box’ version of a calendar in the entrance to the church halls. Each box carried a part of the Christmas story illustrated by one of our church folk. The boxes were opened each day by one of the groups who use our premises. Some creative gifts were evident in the creation of this.
Added to this were some paper angels made in the Moments dementia cafe and some contributed origami angels in silver, which looked good alongside the Christmas tree in the church.
The Extravagance of God’s gift in Jesus …
Eight celebrations were held in local care homes or sheltered housing. These focussed around a Christmas hamper with conversation about the different foods eaten at Christmas, their often rich and spicy nature, and along with decorations and presents the general extravagance of our celebrations and festivities. Apart from the inflatable turkey dinner (!) this was a way to accepting the fact that everything is ‘over the top’. In relation to God’s gift in Jesus, is this not what it is all about?
The Christmas Story – with sound effects!
The sound effects provided by the congregation as the Christmas story was read encouraged us to think about how we react and respond to the coming of Christ in our midst.
A Nativity Play – including a heavenly host!
Christmas Day saw the whole congregation playing parts in our nativity play – with a lot of angels and quite a few shepherds and sheep. We moved around the church as the story progressed. The point? – simply to help us to reflect on the part we have to play to enable Christ to be born, to be a real presence, in our world.
The First Sunday of Christmas
Found us looking at two paintings by Pieter Bruegel. ‘The Census’depicting a village scene in Spanish governed Flanders i
n the 16th century – a place under foreign rule where locals are required to register – and in the midst a carpenter with his pregnant wife on a donkey. It is an everyday
situation and there are no haloes, just plain characters helping us to reflect on the unrecognised presence of Christ in a political situation that is very familiar in our own time. The second painting, ‘The Massacre of the Innocents’, portrayed in the time of oppression of the Flemish by Spain, of Protestants by Catholics. So Christ comes to situations of political tension and religious difference. What does this mean for us as we seek to make Christ real in our world of the 21st century?