Vicar's Blog ~ January 2018
Happy New Year! And Happy Christmas! Christmas is not over yet… Whether you have taken your decorations down or not, we continue to bask in the glow from the Christmas Crib throughout January, until we turn towards Lent after Candlemas. That said, we have had an excellent Christmas weekend at St Mary Magdalene’s, as we always do, with around 500 people attending our Crib Christingle Services and another 200 or so at the Communion Services, to which we might add the full house at the super Carol Service a week earlier. Huge thanks, as ever, to all the people without whom most of this would not be possible: the Drama Group, flower folk, servers, bellringers, Keith and Jonathan and the choir, and everyone who made Christingles, cleaned the church, counted the money, handed out service sheets and helped us present the genuinely warm welcome that is our duty and our joy. To all this, I add my own, and Jessica and Maria’s personal thanks for all the kind wishes, cards and gifts we received. I love Christmas here, not leastly because it is like a huge family gathering and reunion. We have many who only come at Christmas, and while we would love to welcome such large numbers at every service, we also recognise the desires, attitudes and needs of everyone in our local community, and relish the opportunity to welcome parishioners, pilgrims and guests at any time. We do Christmas so well, with worship, music, candles and fellowship that witness to the mutual love and affection in which we all hold each other throughout the year. This is a key part of our mission as a parish – and through it we evangelise to every pew. And now the Tree comes down, we continue to ponder as we journey towards Candlemas and Lent.
For just as the shepherds, summoned to the cradle, left, returning rejoicing, we also leave the crib behind for another year. But like them, and Mary, we ponder, we evangelise and we worship. Like Mary, we ponder – we continue to reflect on the revelations that we have seen, and the Epiphany season helps us with its focus on Magi, Marriage Miracle and Baptism. The shepherds left the crib and returned to their fields, rejoicing and telling others what they had seen – they were the first evangelists, long before the Gospel was written. And they, like the Magi after them, had come to the manger to worship, to worship Christ the new-born king.
So it is we, as we sit in our pews, think of the PEW – the call in the Christmas season to Ponder, to Evangelise and to Worship. I can’t think of a better New Year’s Resolution than that.