On Sunday December 21st our minister Trevor Dixon led our Christmas carol service. As it was the 4th Sunday in Advent 4 candles were lit for the Sunday of love. Jesus showed us God’s perfect love in human form. Those who believe in him and live in him live in love and love transforms and perfects all things. We light these candles to remind us that God is love. We thank God for the hope he gives us, for the peace he bestows, for the joy he pours into our hearts, and for the love that redeems us and shows us the way. We sang the verse;
A candle is burning, a candle of love,
A candle to point us to heaven above,
A baby for Christmas, a wonderful birth,
For Jesus is bringing God’s love to our earth.’
The choir sang the introit, ‘From heaven above to earth I come, after the candle was lit. We then sang, ‘Good Christians all rejoice and sing’, before the prayers. We then sang, ‘Once in Royal David’s city.’ The first reading was ‘The Road to Bethlehem’ before a trio of singers sang, ‘A Christmas Lullaby’ by John Rutter, which was beautiful. We then all sang, ‘Away in a manger’. Sisters sang a duet ‘Scots Nativity This day to you is born’ by Alan Bullard which was lovely. The next reading was ‘Christmas Day.’ The choir then sang ‘O men from the fields’, by Herbert Hughes. We then all sang ‘In the bleak midwinter’, which was Stephen’s favourite carol. The next reading was ‘Wise Men’, before we sang, ‘As with gladness.’ The Trio sang ‘The very best time of Year’ by John Rutter beautifully.
Trevor gave a short address. He wonders if we are ready for Christmas. He has some presents he got by post. He wonders what might be in the parcels. The first package had the shape of a football but when it was opened it was just a balloon! The next package caused a lot of speculation; was it a Toblerone? It was just an empty package! He had a box with mince pies in and some of the young people were quite ready to sample them. However there was only empty pastry no mincemeat in them! What worries Trevor was that Christmas has nothing it. There was a question on ‘Any Questions’ about whether it disturbed people that children no longer knew the words of Christmas carols. The vicar was not as bothered by the fact that the words of Christmas carols were not known but was more concerned about whether they actually knew the Christmas story at all. This gives a challenge to us. For so many people Christmas is empty of the story. Christ is in the centre of Christmas and the challenge is that we need to tell people what Christmas is all about. We want people to know the child Jesus at the centre of Christmas, not let them lose sight of the true message in all the shopping, packaging and ever more presents. Let it not just be empty packets. Trevor did however have a gift we could enjoy and a box of Roses chocolates was shared round us all! His message was noted and very meaningful I thought.
Trevor read the familiar passage from John 1v1-18 from the paraphrase of the Bible, the Message. I will always prefer the original version of this passage in the King James Version, although it did make us listen in a new way with that version. Then Trevor led the prayers of intercession and the Lord’s Prayer before worship concluded when we sang, ‘O come all ye faithful.’