From Our Minister's Work Station
From Our Minister's Workstation
Recent copies of the minsters letters from our Minister Brian. ...more

01/12/15 From the Minister's Christmas Tree

At Passover the Jews sit down and have a long meal with family and friends which is symbolic, an exercise in the oral tradition. The story is told by the oldest to the youngest of how the people were in Egypt as slaves so God sent the plagues to give the Egyptians the hint to release the people and finally the first born of Egypt all died and Pharaoh let the people go. He then changed his mind, sent the army who arrived in time to be drowned as the parted sea closed over them.

I know I have just given the quick version but it does take the Jews a while to tell this and it’s a very special time. It’s a tradition that has stood them well over the centuries. I sometimes reflect on this at Christmas. Even in the best Christian homes the telling of the Christmas story is a very rare event over the turkey. If you tried to do it you would be rather unpopular and your family would feel quite uncomfortable. The Jews have often managed to combine home, family and faith in a way that Christians failed to achieve.

The Christmas story is amazing, thrilling, yet wondrous but it’s not something that ‘we’ retell. Some churches report resistance to the nine lessons and carols format, minsters are ‘encouraged’ to keep it simple which means don’t waste time telling a story that everyone has heard before. Where that has been the practise they now find no one has heard the story before and few come.

The oral tradition amongst the Jews has served them for generations, we could have benefitted so much if we had operated that same system at Christmas, Easter and Pentecost over the years. I heard a comedian say that Christians celebrate everything with food – pancakes, hot cross buns, fish, Turkey and bread and wine. We are not so hot on conversation about faith.

Speaking to someone last year I heard she was going to be on her own on Christmas Day but seeing family afterwards. She said with total honesty she really looked forward to it because it was a time to sit by the fire and remember the story of Jesus born in a manger. It was a time to say thank you to God for all he has done. If we can find that space and time this Christmas we shall observe the season well and find peace in the midst of business. If we can get a word in edgeways with a fragment of the story we may reignite that wonder for others.

May we wish you all a very Happy Christmas

Love from Brian, Sara,
Charlotte, Emily and Flora