THE MAGAZINE TEAM
Our A4 magazine goes free into 1100 homes around the parish.
Revd Barbara Steadman-Allen, General Editor
Maggie Myatt, proof reader extraordinaire
Sara Pearson and Kevin Abel, professional Design and Layout
Kathy Wheeler, chases the adverts
Christmas is on Sunday this year.
What twit adopted 25 December as Christmas? Well intentioned, no doubt. This first part of the annually played out
dramatic trilogy about Jesus should be on Sunday EVERY year as a major
Christian knees up. We need more knees
ups, in my view, all with music that rocks and food and true jollity that has
no regrets the morning after. It’s the
greatest story ever told, after all, and we tell it every year, so we know it’s
coming. We don’t party half enough.
The original Jewish feasts (from which
pretty much all the Christian ones spring) went on for at least a week with
national holidaying, which didn’t mean individuals flying off into the sunset
on a package but enabled them to be together as a community. Stacks of food, and holy frolic. Worship was pretty lively too. At St MM, along with other local churches,
we try to inject red blood into what could become a rather anaemic British
attempt at worshipping the most amazing hero ever. While being authentically what our history
makes us, English Surrey village!
Somehow Christmas on a Sunday keeps the
rhythm of the week right. Easter is on a
Sunday (intrinsically connected with Passover so proposing a fixed date is just
silly). Let’s give the 25
to whoever wants it, then they’re welcome to do whatever they want with it and
we can do Christmas on the next available Sunday, or the Sunday before if
nearer. Christians keep Sundays, of course, because that was the day of the
week when Jesus rose from the dead (the second part of the trilogy) and what an
event to mark! “The first day of the
week” was a Sunday (Jewish day of rest was Saturday) and a work day, so
Christians gathered early, before work, to sing and pray and share
In our 24.7 society, feast days like
Christmas seem to have lost their zing, being replaced only by hype. Don’t get me wrong, I quite like some of the
hype, except when it encourages people to spend too much money, drink too much
booze and fall out with too many family members. I love the first carol I hear, the bright
shop windows (the ones that haven’t become tediously over-familiar), the fun of
Christmas present planning (not wrapping).
But what reaches most satisfyingly into
my the deepest recesses of my soul is the knowledge that somehow God loves me so much that he sent Jesus in order that I
should see him, and in seeing, know him, and in knowing, enjoy him, and in
enjoying, love him in return. And that’s why the date doesn’t really matter,
because the truth lasts into the New Year when all the decorations are dusty,
and into the whole of life as it stretches out ahead.
Have a good one – and as ever, look out
for your neighbours, wish them a H.C. and resolve any differences you may have
with them before 2017 arrives!
*an old story: the frog fell into a bowl of cream. Instead of drowning, he kept kicking till the
cream turned to butter and he climbed out.
Church of England Diocese of Guildford, which covers most of Surrey and
north-east Hampshire and one church in West Sussex, was formed out of
Winchester Diocese in 1927. It has a population of just over one million and
over 28,000 regular worshippers.