Today I found myself needing to write what would normally be the “vicar’s letter” for a local magazine, except that we don’t currently have a vicar, and I’m not even ordained! However, it has felt important to maintain these slots in the printed material that falls through people’s doors and sits on pub counters, despite our state of ‘vacancy’, and December seemed to be my turn. It’s not like we’ve stopped our mission and ministry as a church just because we haven’t got a priest – far from it!
If any of you have read Bishop Nick’s post on the coverage this week of the forthcoming royal wedding (should that be capitalised?), you may have spotted in the comments that though I am all in favour of marriage, weddings and our monarchy, and wish Prince William and Kate all the very best for their future together, I really can’t face the endless news coverage, and am glad that I don’t read a daily newspaper (and haven’t yet opened this weeks Church Times where I bet it get’s at least one column!)
So I feel a little ill-at-ease with myself because when writing my “not the vicar’s” slot today, I found myself mentioning… yep, the royal wedding! It was simply that it sprang to mind as something special that people would know about, whether they react positively to it, or negatively. However, I’m still not convinced as to whether it helps or hinders the point I’m making – so I’ll let you decide, and perhaps I’ll even see you at Christmas!
What’s so special?
If something is ‘special’ it has some distinguishing qualities that makes it unusual or important, or it is held in high regard. A royal wedding for example could be described as a ‘special occasion’ because it doesn’t happen that often and involves people who we admire or find interesting or inspiring. This is what encourages people to focus their attention on it.
When an event happens annually, like a birthday or anniversary, which perhaps we celebrate in roughly similar ways each year, the ‘specialness’ of the occasion can start to fade, especially when tight budgets or a lack of imagination means the occasion can almost slip by, un-noticed.
The lights, tinsel and music in our shops and streets make it hard not to notice it will soon be Christmas. But possibly we can’t afford as many presents this year, and the electricity may be too expensive to run the outdoor lights, so how are we going to make the annual event of Christmas special in 2010?
I’d like to suggest you make Christmas special this year by finding out about the people involved. Find out why Christians are inspired by Jesus’ birth to celebrate it every year. Discover the distinguishing qualities of the baby in the manger that brings shepherds, wise men and millions of Christians together each year to worship him.
If you want to make Christmas 2010 special by encountering the real story of Jesus, please join us for one of these popular services!
Outdoor Nativity – Saturday 18th December 5.00pm Meet between the “White Lion” and the “Dog and Partridge” to encounter our “live” nativity
Christmas Eve Crib Services at 3:00 pm, 4:15pm, and 5:30 pm in St. Peter’s Church
Midnight Communion Service 11.30pm Christmas Eve in St. Peter’s Church with the Bishop of Basingstoke
Christmas Day Family Celebration with Communion 10.00am in St. Peter’s Church