There is a lot of talk and of course concern as to whether the country can ‘have a Christmas’ this year, or even about ‘saving Christmas’! I understand what is meant here but it still seems quite strange when the whole point of Christmas in the first place is that Jesus was born over 2000 years ago in order to save us, the human race! It may be a different sort of Christmas perhaps depending on how high the Covid rate is in our particular area and I hope by the time you are reading this we will be out or shortly out of this second lockdown. Someone wrote to me recently expressing their wish that the church would speak out about how Christmas is not about consumerism and indulgence but about being kind to each other every day, all the year round which need not happen on the 25th December. Well said of course, dear correspondent and I am pretty sure we would on the whole agree with this sentiment.
Kindness is the key thing isn’t it and I am sure we all hope that we will be able to find ways of expressing that act of love this Christmas and all the rest of the year. In fact I think as a community and as a nation there has been unbridled acts of kindness and compassion in this most difficult and unprecedented of years. Yet of course we all need cheering up amid the winter gloom and many are putting up decorations and getting organised extra early. With that in mind we have organised an Advent Trail around the village on certain days in December. Sally Wyborn and I have been putting our heads together on this and each blaming the other for the idea when approaching likely ‘hosts’! Anyway we have some great things organised so do look out for a leaflet advertising where and when Advent events will be happening. All are designed with social distancing and safety in mind ensuring that people can ‘flow around’ in comfort and a huge thank you to all our hosts in advance!
So at church last month after Remembrance Sunday outside, services have not been allowed to take place but we are looking forward to resuming again on Sunday 6th December unless there are still restrictions in place. The day before the lovely annual community Christmas trees will be decorated and the lights will be switched on – can’t wait! The Christmas lights will be very cheery especially this year! We are also placing a rather special Christmas tree in church this year called the Tree of Hope. We have always had a special prayer tree inside in the Christmas season, but this year we thought it would be lovely if people wished to pop into church and hang a tag on the tree with your hopes and or prayers. Its one of those lovely silver birch lit trees so it will stand out from everything else! Our special Christmas services; Nine Lessons and Carols, the Crib service on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day services will again we hope be able to take place with all hygiene and social distancing measures provided. In order that we may take necessary arrangements and precautions for these much loved occasions we are asking that if you can, to sign a service list in church with your intention to attend. Of course not everyone may take up their place so if you haven’t signed up for attending a service, don’t fear, still come along and we will find somewhere for you to be safely! We hope this assurance helps.
We know that this Christmas will be difficult for many this year with the worry of unemployment, reduced wages, sickness, loneliness and all the other emotions which become heightened at this time of the year. If you or you know anyone who is in need we may be able to help and especially with regard to food supplies. I am an agent for the Dorking Foodbank in that I can issue vouchers. I will also be holding extra food parcels for those who need them in the run up to Christmas so do contact me in the first instance on 01306 711260. Incidentally the food bank will always give food to those in need even if they don’t have a voucher. It is a wonderful scheme, sadly so much needed and especially at the moment so do reassure anyone that they are so welcome to make use of this great resource.
This last year has certainly been the year of online resources for churches, many still providing online worship each week. We will be providing an online service of worship for Christmas for those who cannot be with us in person so do check the parish website capelandockleychurch.org.uk for further details of this. It will be online from Christmas Day onwards. The national church has once again published lots of Advent and Christmas resources with their campaign ‘Comfort and Joy’ following St Paul’s words to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep’ (Romans 12.15). We have lots of lovely booklets to give out to everyone with some daily reflections on the twelve days of Christmas featuring many well known Christian thinkers and writers. You can also find them online at www.churchofengland.org as well as much else!
Finally I would like to pay tribute to Pam Cuthbertson and Barbara Grundy along with their team of volunteers who have worked so tirelessly to bring us our community news each month in what is fondly known as the yellow magazine, a real constant over so many years! Thank you all so much! As you know this is the last issue of this current format but all being well you will find posted through your letterbox a continuation of the Capel and Beare Green magazine in a somewhat different style so we are grateful to Pam and Barbara et al and the new team who will carry on the baton of community and village news!
I do hope to see many of you this month and may we all bring comfort, joy and kindness to one another as we once again welcome the birth of the Christ child, who came to bring good tidings, to save us from ourselves and the tendency to consume and indulge given half a chance. So have a lovely Christmas, quiet or otherwise, keep safe and I pray all your hopes will be fulfilled.
With all love and prayers
Post expires at 7:13am on Monday November 22nd, 2021