It has been a mad couple of months since Rev’d Chris Hills retired, so I’m really sorry that the blog got a little neglected…! Christmas is upon us, and we’ve got loads on. First up, this coming Sunday we have our services of Carols by Candlelight. These are traditional style services of readings and carols for Christmas.
Please note that we will be using handheld candles at Mistley this year. If you don’t feel confident using this, please make sure to bring a torch instead, as it will be pretty dark.
On Christmas Eve we have our Crib Services: these are family-friendly services, including a re-telling of the Christmas story, Christmas songs, a small craft and a biscuit on the way out. They are a great way to start Christmas, remembering what it’s really about, so everyone’s welcome of all ages!
Later that night, we also have our service of Christmas Communion: this will be a traditional-style service with Christmas carols and readings and Communion together.
Finally, on Christmas morning we have our Christmas Celebration with Communion: this will be a shortish service for all the family, taking time out to remember why we have Christmas in the first place!
Please see the poster for times and locations, and we’ll hope to see you there!
Of course, it’s not just about services as much as it’s not just about presents or the wrappings or the turkey…
It’s all about what God has done – what He has already done. Jesus was born around 2017 years ago and there is nothing you can do to stop that fact, to change that fact, or to make it any less real.
If all of wrappings of Christmas are terrible, don’t forget they are just wrappings to remind us of Jesus, and whether those wrappings are rubbish or magical or somewhere in between, Jesus has already come, has already died for us, has already gone back to heaven, and is still going to come again.
You can’t break Christmas: you can only miss it.
What God has done is a wonderful gift that you only need to receive and unwrap, to take hold of it and explore it.
Here’s the thing though – it’s not always easy to focus and find meaning in stories so well known. It’s not always easy to really get a handle on it, to understand it, or to see it. Sometimes we need it wrapped up in different ways so that we see it in a new way.
We held Messy Church a few weeks ago, and one of our smaller Messy Churchers, a little boy who is the most excited and enthusiastic kid you’ll ever meet, told his Mum when he was coming out of school that the lights on the Christmas tree reminded him of Jesus, because Jesus is the light.
I’ve thought about that every time that I’ve walked past Christmas lights these last few weeks. Jesus is the light, and in Him there is no darkness. What God has done isn’t just an abstract concept: it’s real, and it makes a difference today, and all around you are Christmas-wrapping-reminders of that fact. And the best bit? Even if the lights go out, Jesus keeps shining.
So don’t worry too much about the stuff of Christmas, but don’t forget that you can see reminders everywhere of our God who has come to be with us: that He weeps with us. He laughs with us. He feels for our sadness and shares in our gladness. That the good things of Christmas remind us of the good things of God, and the messy things remind us that He’s not finished yet.
So join us. Take time to explore. Take time to listen for the songs of the angels. Come and see what God has done.
And we hope you have a very happy Christmas.