St Mary Magdalene Church, The Holmwood - A meeting place between God and people through Jesus Christ
Our A4 magazine goes free into 1100 homes around the parish.                                             

Revd Barbara Steadman-Allen, General Editor
Revd Barbara Steadman-Allen, General Editor
Maggie Myatt, proof reader extraordinaire
Maggie Myatt, proof reader extraordinaire
Sara Pearson and Kevin Abel, professional Design and Layout
Sara Pearson and Kevin Abel, professional Design and Layout
Kathy Wheeler, chases the adverts
Kathy Wheeler, chases the adverts

HURRAY!  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 together. 
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!
Christmas love,
Revd. BSA


*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.

* The 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. 



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