Sunday, 28 November 2010

Christmas starts here? - Advent certainly does

"Christmas starts here" was the strap-line advertising yesterday's village event in Shotley Bridge - community meets business and charity benefits. We moved our own "Christmas Fair" to fit in with the big day which began with the arrival of Father Christmas (in Victorian horse and carriage) and ended with the switching on of the village Christmas tree lights.

A sleigh with reindeer would have been a far more appropriate vehicle for Santa. We're in the grip of ice and snow - and I'd thought we would have cause to regret moving the Fair to this weekend. Getting everything running certainly took determination and hard work on the part of many - church, hall and vicarage are half-way up a one in seven hill and the one-way approach is one in five at its steepest. But it worked. It seems that people took the hint from the weather, abandoned hopes of taking their cars to the MetroCentre or Newcastle for Christmas shopping and stayed local. Fortunately it was the right sort of snow - not slushy but quite dry and with the right kind of grip underfoot - and that made it easier for people to walk up or down Church Bank and drop into the Hall.

Anyway - a great day... More snow fell overnight, and I found myself unsurprised by a congregation of zero at 8a.m. But over 40 ventured out for the 10a.m. Eucharist. A good-sized contingent should now be making our way to Durham for the Cathedral's Advent Procession - but the snow is falling again, my only way out would be dangerous if not impossible and I haven't heard from anyone that they might be going to take a chance. So, our apologies...

I reflected on yesterday's events when I preached this morning - with the urgency of the Christmas Fair out of the way, now we can perhaps find the space to tackle Advent! Click the link and play with the sidebar to make the text appear in the window. And you can find Rosie Junemann's sermon for Christ the King here - sorry about the delay in posting.

For more pictures from yesterday's celebrations, click here. Keep warm!

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