One of my greatest joys as a child was the emergence of the chocolate advent calendar. I’m not sure exactly when they became the norm, but at some point in the 1980s they did, and I remember the sheer delight of being able to eat a chocolate before my breakfast and the excitement of counting down to Christmas Day.
Times have changed and now, as an adult, the countdown to Christmas brings its fair share of stresses as well as magic, especially this year as the grip of the cost of living crisis continues to squeeze and I begin to wonder what on earth Santa will be able to afford!
It’s at times like this that I am grateful to be a vicar and be able to spend the whole of December sharing the amazing news that the real gift of the festive season is free – that Jesus came as a baby to the world and his free gifts of love, joy and peace, keep on giving despite our circumstances and the things that are going on in the world around us.
This year, more than ever, I hope and pray that we will find pleasure in the simple joys of life: the delight on a small child’s face as they come face to face with Santa, being able to gather round a table together after the isolation of recent years and the wonder of homemade gifts.
Christmas doesn’t need to cost the earth – the greatest gift is free – please do go along to an event or service at your local church during this Festive Season and get some Christmas magic for free!
The Church of England Churches have fun things each weekend of December which are open to everyone, here are just a few, but please do look at the noticeboards outside the churches, see FB page: “Church of England in Clifton, Nottingham” or the website: http://cliftonchurchofengland.weebly.com for more options and further information.
- Festive Fun – Sat 10th Dec – 2-4pm – Holy Trinity with St Francis
Free visit to Santa, free Christmas crafts and activities, free stable photo booth, cake stall, tombola and raffle.
- Carols by Candlelight – Sun 18th Dec – 7pm – St Mary’s, Clifton Village
Traditional carols, readings and choir performances, all finished off with mulled wine and mince pies
- Christingle Service – Christmas Eve – 4pm – St Mary’s, Clifton Village
A perfect Christmassy moment for the whole family
- Community Christmas Dinner – Christmas Day – 12.30-3pm – The Rivergreen Methodist Hub
A Christmas dinner for those who would otherwise be on their own – booking required.
May God bless you and those you care for this Christmas time.
Words by Rev Lydia Cartwright