“I wish it could be Christmas every day” is a song from 1973 sung by the glam rock group Wizzard and reached number four in the charts that year. Although we hear that song on the playlists in the run up to Christmas every year, the wish expressed is probably not something we would wish for ourselves!
However, I’d like to extend thinking about Christmas into this issue of UPDATE to express thanks to everyone who was involved in the Christmas celebrations in Carnoustie Panbride. The preparations began on Advent Sunday in November with the introduction of the Advent Christmas Tree made by Jimmy Lindsay of Winter Place, complete with 25 little hand made parcels. Since Advent Calendars would not be used until the 1st December, I explained what was going to happen in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day. Inside each parcel would be a letter which corresponded to pieces of a jigsaw which were displayed on a magnetic Board. On the following Sundays we would open the relevant parcels and make up the jigsaw – but of course, if they wanted to see the completed jigsaws – they would need to come along on Christmas Day!
Also introduced on Advent Sunday was the Advent hymn for 2011, and I am grateful to all those who took the trouble to say how much they enjoyed the new words which I had written – I explained that we would sing a new verse every Sunday – but if they wanted the fifth verse – they would need to come along on Christmas Day! After the service someone jokingly (I think!) said he was not sure what the children would make of the minister trying to bribe them!
I don’t know about the congregation, but the children and I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the service each Sunday and the hymn and the jigsaws were completed on Christmas morning.
The Nativity Service this year was special – the children were very professional and played their parts wonderfully well – and their obvious enjoyment came across to the congregation. Thanks to all the staff of the FOG Squad and the children for their hard work. The Christingle Service that evening was another very special event. Additional seats had to be brought in and the children of the Carlogie Choir and the Signing Choir presented us with some very special experiences. I, personally, found it particularly moving when the first four verses of the Advent Carol were sung by the congregation and signed by the children. Thanks to everyone at Carlogie who support the children and allow them to come along to this service. You have an invitation to come along to the Christingle Service this year as well! The Watchnight Service at Panbride was well attended and thanks to our own Choir and organist and to Maggie Findlay for her solo just after midnight.
There were also some unexpected happenings. On Christmas Day, the decorations round the Advent Candles went on fire while I was at the top of a ladder (you had to be there to know why I was up a ladder!) and will probably mean that that is the only thing that is remembered about that service! Thanks to the organist who help me extinguish the flames while the congregation looked on! At least my Fireman’s badge award in Boys’ Brigade came in useful albeit some 45 years later!
But that is the end of Christmas for another year. But it is not the end of the story which began at Christmas. The story continues and in the next few weeks we will be preparing for Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter. The Ministers Council will be making plans for joint services. It is all too easy to get stuck at one chapter of the story. The story continues – and it continues through God’s people wherever they are. And you and I are part of that story in 2012.