Our Minister, Rev’d Chris Pritchard, sends the following Message for the month of December 2018 ….
This year my household started talking about Christmas earlier than normal. My wife and I usually have a holiday at the beginning of November and Ruth tells me that at that time that we need to start thinking about Christmas presents and who needs what. Her argument is that I will get very busy in December and if she wants my help then we have to start early. This year however we had a holiday in October and so we started Christmas shopping even earlier than usual. One problem with this is that when I say to my family what do you want for Christmas most of them have no idea in the middle of October!
The thing is that I am bit of a bah humbug sort of person! It is not that I don’t like Christmas because I do but rather I want to think about Advent before Christmas. For lots of people Christmas begins early in December and I sometimes find that by the Sunday after Christmas people have had enough! But we should remember that according to the churches year Christmas only begins on the evening of Christmas Eve and it goes on depending on how you look at it either to Epiphany on the 6th January or Candlemas at the start of February! I know a number of churches who will put the Christmas crib scene out and bless it on Christmas Eve and it will stay in church well into the New Year.
Personally I would like to be able to enjoy advent before I enjoy Christmas. Some of my colleagues are very strict about this and try and insist that Carols in particular are not sung until it is Christmas but I realise that is an alien concept to most people especially as the shops started their Christmas music early in November. The point for me is that I want to spend Advent reflecting on what the coming of Jesus Christ means to me before I celebrate his birth. Advent means coming and at its best it is a time for us to reflect on what it means to say that Jesus has come into the world and also what it might mean to reflect on how Jesus might come to us in glory! This then I think will help us to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.
I don’t want to be a killjoy. When Christmas comes I will celebrate it as much as anyone. I will enjoy singing a variety of Christmas Carols and I will share in worship and tell the Christmas story with as much joy as I can muster, because Christmas is special and it is important to celebrate the birth of Jesus and recognise that Jesus is God incarnate. I just want to use advent as a time to prepare for that celebration!
So I am going to finish this letter by wishing you a helpful advent as well as a very happy Christmas.