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December 2016

This will be a sign for you; you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger” Luke 2:12
“Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place that the Lord has made known to us” Luke 2:15

Dear Friends,

On the last day of October in brilliant sunshine I was sitting shirt-sleeved on Deacon Hill and Christmas was far away but I turned my mind to this letter and wondered what is was that I was looking forward to.

For many of us Christmas is about anticipating traditions. For me some of these are the scents of the season - pine needles, sausage rolls cooking on Christmas Eve, the smell of the steamed pudding; the colours of the season - the candles in church the decorations, lights glimmering from the houses; the sounds of the season - carols, morning church bells, the readings at midnight communion and that special quietness when you go home afterwards. The biggest joy though is the return of the student boys with their news of the past term and their excitement of homecoming and Christmas cooking and the brotherly banter that has been missing from the house since the early summer holidays. Our Christmas is about gathering together.

Of course, God always has at his disposal both imaginable and beyond our imaginable ways of showing us his love but two thousand years ago he chose incarnation; he chose to come as a baby This birth will strike a chord with us as we recognize the joy we were intended to feel, the sense of the miracle of life, the awe of it all and the deep seated need to say thank you for the preciousness of all creation and for this moment especially when we picture his mother and father, the shepherds, the kings, the animals of the stable, the angels of heaven around the manger. Jesus came among us and we gather round him.

In St. Margaret's we come together, we gather to celebrate and worship in diverse ways. In mid December we begin with our candlelit carol services with traditional Bible readings, music and a host of both familiar and newly written carols. On Christmas Eve there are two Crib and Christingle services complete with a stable and of course many knitted sheep. Holy Communion will be celebrated at 11.15 so that we movingly, share the bread and wine at midnight. On Christmas morning Paolo will lead the family celebration.

I look forward to being with you at one or more of these special events, to enjoy them with you. Son please come and gather with us, gather as the shepherds, who said to one another “Let’s go and see this thing that has taken place.

16th December 8.00 p.m. Candlelit Carols
18th December 6.30 p.m. Candlelit Carols
24th December 3.30 p.m. Crib and Christingle service
5.00 p.m. Crib and Christingle service
11.15 p.m. Holy Communion by candlelight
25th December 8.00 a.m. Holy Communion
9.30 a.m. Family service with Holy Communion

With best wishes and a happy Christmas to you all

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