Happy New Year! I hope you had a good Christmas and are now raring to go into 2019?! Oh dear, January is a tough month isn’t it. The Spring seems a long way away but at least the nights are already drawing out which is amazing. Light is such a marvellous thing isn’t it – we long for it in the darkness of these winter days and in the darkness of some areas of life too. So light is my theme for this month’s letter because before Christmas I went on a family trip up to the West End in London to see the Christmas lights. This turned out to be very exciting as I haven’t been to see the lights in town for many, many years and I had forgotten just how magical they are. The trip included a visit to Hamley’s toy store in Regent Street, which was suitably manic, with Christmas elves singing Jingle bells outside the store and being bombarded by bubble machines as we entered the shop. Never mind we survived even that! There were Christmas lights everywhere – more than I ever remember – but perhaps that’s because of LED now? The piece de resistance though were the beautiful Christmas angels that appeared to fly down the whole of Regent Street, their trains and wings covering many metres. They were truly magnificent.
One of the most famous readings we have at our Christmas services is the reading from John’s gospel which describes the birth of Christ is the light coming into the world ‘the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it’. Well at the beginning of next month we celebrate Jesus being the light of the world with our annual Christingle Service. This year The Children’s Society celebrates 50 years of the Christingle which has grown from the first ever Christingle service in this country at Lincoln Cathedral through to 20 churches holding Christingle services two years later to well over 5,400 churches holding them today and over 1 million people attending. All the money raised goes to the Children’s Society who help the most vulnerable children in our communities nationally. The service originates from Germany in 1747 and was performed in local churches all over Moravia when families would gather together at Christmas time. In the first service the children were encouraged to take their Christingle home to re-light and place in their cottage to show the light of Christ to passers –by. Our Christingle takes place on the first Sunday in February which is the feast of Candlemas which is the Presentation of Christ at the Temple. This is when Mary and Joseph take the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem as was customary for Jewish boys. Two faithful people there recognise him as their Lord and greet him with great joy and celebration . Candlemas marks for churches the official end of the Christmas season – we go on longer than twelfth night! So I hope you will join us for our Capel and Ockley Christingle and celebrate that Jesus is the light of the world.
Finally part of the Christmas traditions is pantomime isn’t it? After my debut in the summer as a ‘Spangle Sister’, the mum of a rather interesting singing duo or trio as my character was the drummer – I have rather rashly offered myself up for the Ockley Society’s annual pantomime Ali baba and the forty thieves. I have been cast as a spice trader! Hopefully by the time you read this I will know my lines or at least know when I have to say them. So cheer yourself up if you need it and come and see the show – I think it’s quite funny but I guess I’m biased!
Have a good January
With my love and prayers as always