It's been quite a time here in the Five Alive Mission Community. We've had some important and quite significant funerals, a wedding, all of the usual end of term and Christmas events and in this past couple of days an almost solid thirty six hours of services - with an eight hour break between 1am and 9am... so I and my colleagues did get some sleep!
It's a funny thing this Church business, we see people who we never normally see at the services over the Christmas period and some of our regulars make themselves scarce! And in any year we never know whether there will be more or less than the previous year at any of our services... which so easily leads into the spiral of either self congratualtion or self mortification depending on which way the figures have gone in any year. Of course we know that the important part of what we do at Christmas is to preach and share the Gospel, and our self worth as a Christian community should never be based on how many 'bums on seats' we have, but it's hard to have any kind of objective measure as to our success in sharing the life of Christ and we so often fall back on figures for attendance! It is reassuring that in my time here I've not managed to empty the Churches, though, I hope that means I've not upset too many people...
But in terms of the quality of the services, the worship and the sense of community and celebration, this year's selection of services has been wonderful - at least the ones I was a part of (and the others taken by colleagues, according to the effusive feedback I have received). We have marked the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour with joy!
There's something else that made my Christmas day positive and uplifting and that was (and here are words I never expected to find myself using) The Queen's Speech! It was encouraging, thought provoking and moving. There's a very good reflection on it here and below is Her Majesty herself and the 2011 Queen's Speech.
Happy Christmas everyone! God bless you all and may the love of Christ dwell in you richly.