Monday, 7 December 2009

Advent 2 & a Victorian Christmas

We had an excellent weekend at St. Cuthbert's - and in the village of Shotley Bridge. Our Christmas Fair was brilliantly successful, and the decision to time it within the village's "Victorian Christmas Weekend" seems to have paid off to mutual benefit. I was a bit wary on purist grounds of being too Christmassy - but then again, we have been known to have our Christmas Fair even before the start of Advent.

Santa Claus apparently arrived in style - if not with reindeer and sleigh - and carriage rides continued throughout Saturday with proceeds going to charity, while Father Christmas went to his grotto in the local Dentist's surgery. I'd already expressed the opinion that this would either do wonders for the image of dentistry or put children off Santa for life - in the event getting an appointment with the bearded one was to prove almost as difficult as getting speedy attention for that painful molar, and he found himself fully booked (yes, you couldn't just turn up!) for the whole weekend. Though he did find time to come out and switch on the Christmas lights.

In the midst of it all I found time to write a homily for Sunday, which you can find here. It's about that most un-Christmassy character, John the Baptist. How is it that he manages to hog two Sundays out of Advent? Well, that's the question I started from...

After a Sunday morning in church, it was back to the village where crowds came out for carol-singing from our local schools, and a performance by our own St. Cuthbert's Handbell Ringers. Everyone seems to have had a great time - and there was lots more going on. What started as a local business initiative to stimulate trade has grown into a genuine community event.

Finally, back up the hill we transformed our Hall with its own Christmas decorations. In response to those who asked, we can't put them up in time for the Christmas Fair simply because we can't get the decorations in as well as the customers!

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