I truly am very sorry not to have been able to continue posting last week. I am trying to get all the building work here at Christ Church finished for Christmas. It's a long story, but we are nearly there. The trouble is that to bring it to completion involves dealing with 5 different contractors and getting them to co-ordinate their work is no easy business. And today all the School services for Christmas have started. Great fun!
On a positive note, the Church was very full last Sunday. This is not traditionally a busy Sunday so it's quite encouraging with Christmas coming up. This week, in common with many churches, we will be having our Sunday School Nativity in the morning and our Carols by Candlelight Service in the evening. I know it is not all about numbers, but you can't get your message out if there's no-one there to hear it.
I have always thought that Christmas was our best time of year for reaching out to people. I was more than a little surprised then to read of a British Bishop criticizing the words in traditional carols. Now he may be right (I am not sure he is, but that's another matter), but it is truly appalling timing. I can't imagine Marks and Spencer announcing that some of its Christmas range is rubbish in the middle of the Christmas shopping season. Doubtless, M&S will review their range and performance in the New Year. Maybe that would have been a better time for the Bishop to invite comments on what for many people is an essential part of Christmas.
I always try to use only those carols that I feel convey the Gospel message, but at the same time surely a bit of poetic licence is allowed. In the bleak mid-winter by Christina Rossetti, for example, is clearly inaccurate when it comes to the meteorological details of the Nativity, but right on when it comes to what Christmas is or should be all about:
What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him -
Give my heart.
I hope that neither Bishops nor busyness are spoiling the Christmas season for you!