The weather in the last few days has really brought home the fact that autumn is well and truly with us. The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder – and I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like bedding down in a corner and hibernating until spring! Sadly that is neither possible nor practical, because this time of year is perhaps one of the busiest in the church year.
November begins with the Shoebox Campaign for Operation Christmas Child, which will hopefully be just as successful as last year. Then we have our annual Autumn Fair – a wonderful opportunity to welcome friends and strangers into our building, ply them with refreshments, and sell them one or two potential Christmas gifts into the bargain!
Next we welcome Advent – a time of preparation and anticipation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus – or at least it should be: but often we find ourselves rushing round trying to get Christmas Cards written, presents bought and sent off before the posting deadlines, and becoming well and truly fed-up of shops blaring out Christmas pop-songs and jingles and assaulting us with aisles of gifts and trinkets and decorations that seem to have been around since the summer holidays. Don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas and the excitement that grows the nearer we get to it – I just wish that commercialism would stop trying to take Christ out of it, and we could get back to the true spirit of Christ-mass!
Perhaps one solution will be to support this year’s ‘Lancashire Sings Christmas’ interactive carol service on the 21st December, 7-8pm. Organised by BBC Radio Lancashire and Churches Together in Lancashire, it seeks to encourage churches to ‘go out’ and use venues in their local community, sharing together in celebrating the message of Christmas with each other. Check out their website to find out more and watch out for details in the church notices of where you can take part in our neighbourhood. This may be the time of year when some species on planet earth take to their beds and don’t emerge until springtime – but we are not one of them!
Enjoy the autumn sunshine, when it happens – don’t despair when it rains and the joints take a little longer to loosen up – and revel in the hope that Christ brings, not just at this time of year, but all year round!
Yours in Christ,