This year, every time I have got up to speak at the various services, carol services, bible studies, advent and Christmas services, my reflections have come back to “What sort of gift?” What sort of gift do we receive at Christmas?
Time – There has been a gift of time. Time to reflect through advent, as to the coming of the king, time to reflect on what this means to us. Time to share with people, time to visit (less meetings!), time to catch up with home communions, and receive a wonderful welcome in people’s homes. Time to share with others, to celebrate together. Time to catch up with families and friends. Time to go back to Bristol and see our house. Now, there is even time between Christmas and New year to come away for a retreat.
Presence – There has been some time to be! Some moments just to be me for a while, to catch up with myself, without having to be something or someone for everyone else. But there has also been times to reflect on the presence of The Lord, some moments in the eyes of the children as we reflected on the light of the Christingle, or some puppets singing, some moments of being able to pray with those that wept as we lit candles for lost loved ones, some wonderful moments of community as we shared in bread and wine, and even in tea and mince pies.
Presents – There has also been some lovely presents given and received this christmas. Quite touching to hear of the presents given out by the Street Pastors, or those that remembered that one of our congregation received no gift last year, so made sure she got one this year. Practical presents, such as a set of new front tyres for my car, and a new battery for Caroline’s car! A sewing machine for Jessica so she can in her ethical mode sew her own clothes.
Service – In the run up to Christmas, I felt really blessed in being able to serve as a minister, to be able to lead others in a huge variety of worship, share in prayers, communion, carol services and even a sing-along-a-christmas with the tiny ones in the pre-school. It has also been a privilege to serve and share meals with the elderly in our community, and also spend time with the rough sleepers at the Night Shelter. I’d been too busy to go out with the Street Pastors in December, but i have kept them in mind, and prayed for them. I look forward to being able to serve with them again in the new year.
So in reflecting on gift, what did I come up with?
This Christmas, and indeed all christmases, all year, we celebrate receiving from God, a gift of Love, Hope, Joy, Light and salvation, and i have loved preaching on this from the first Sunday in Advent to Christmas Day.
I do hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and I look forward to wishing you a Blessed New Year.