The third chapter of Jane Williams’ book Approaching Christmas is about Decorations. “Perhaps without knowing it, Christmas decorations are helping the world to rejoice in its creation. God’s act in making the world, described in the Bible story of the creation in the book of Genesis, does sound quite like festive decoration. First of all there is nothing, then there is a bare and empty expanse. God begins decorating by sprinkling trees, flowers, grass, fruit trees and all kinds of vegetation liberally about. Then God hangs lights, which are on a very good timer switch, called day and night. But when God does Christmas decorations, they last forever. Cunningly, God decorates the Christmas world using things that are just part of the workaday world: ordinary working people, like Joseph the carpenter, who is to be the father and protector of the new baby; or some shepherds, just getting on with their boring menial job. Nobody takes much notice of shepherds because they have to spend so much of their time out in the fields, and they have no gossip or anything to contribute to the bustling social life they generally miss out on. I wonder if it was partly to make the
shepherds feel at home that God allowed Jesus to be born in a stable: I can imagine that the shepherds wouldn’t have liked to visit the new baby if he was staying in a smart hotel. But out in the stable with the animals looking on, the shepherds look as though they belong in God’s Christmas collage, with the baby wrapped up in the straw at the centre of it. So the baby comes to change the world, not by drawing a bright veil of illusion over it,
but by living in the world as it was designed to be lived in. He lives in the world as one who knows that the world is God’s and that his job is to reflect God’s presence and ownership… Our Christmas decorations may never quite have the power and dynamism of God’s, but we can make them part of our conscious decision to live in God’s world as people who can join in with the activity of its maker. We can hang up our decorations, year by year, to celebrate with joy the creation and re-creation of the world. And when we take the decorations down again and put them away for another year, we can continue to live in the world that God decorates for us, and be part of the ongoing work of creation and restoration.”
The Reverend Anne Price
- Service of Nine Lessons and Carols: next Sunday at 7:00 pm. Refreshments afterwards, please bring a plate.
- Roadworks: Thursday until 3:00 pm there will be no access to our Durham St parking area.
- Because of the above, this week the Trumpet will be prepared on Wednesday.
- Christmas Flower Donations: please give to Jill Woodside (Sundays), or to the parish office (weekday mornings).
- Lunch at Regatta on Avon: today at 12 noon. Details Alice.
- Concert—Share the Gift: today at the Cathedral, 2:00 pm. See poster.
- Communion at Three: today. All welcome.
- Working Bee: 23 December 10:00 am. More helpers needed!
- Christmas Banners: at least two banner bearers needed for 11:30 pm Christmas Eve and one for Christmas Day 10:00 am. Offers to Ann Jinman (347 8290).
- Book Swap: on bookshelves in the lounge. Koha to parish.
- Recycling Electronic Equipment: please put unwanted phones etc in the box at the back of the church or take to the parish office. Details Jenny Daniels (347 7629).