It was the end of November and we were planning for this coming Sunday (21st December) our 2nd Messy Church – which is a time for families to come together make things, worship and spend time together at the local school. Having looked at the schedule for Christmas we all anticipated that we would have had enough of making Christmas crafts, singing carols and acting out the nativity story. The leaders of the children’s groups (who are also involved in Messy Church) already knew that by the end of term we would all feel tired out. We’ve probably all experienced sometime that weariness of not being able to cope with seeing another Christmas card decorated with glitter or a tree decoration covered in sparkly bits. So we decided we would take the theme of time, and explore the idea of waiting and we wouldn’t make Christmas stuff!
Then I thought about it, what an opportunity we have. The purpose of Messy Church is incarnational mission and for a moment we were going to by pass the incarnation altogether. Yes we as church folk might be fed up by 21st December with Christmas, but here we had in front of us an opportunity to tell the Christmas story in a creative, fun and exciting way. We are running Messy Church in an urban area that’s multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, where barely any families attend church, we have an opportunity to invite people to share in the best story there is. I also suspect that the families who were planning to come would expect us to say something about Christmas especially that close to Christmas Day. What a shame that we, myself included, feel that we’ve had enough just a few days before Christmas.
My hope is that the families that come might feel that sense of yearning and longing; and that we all feel that sense of hope-filled waiting that comes through the season of advent. I also hope that it won’t feel stressful for either those who are preparing, or those who come, but rather an opportunity to hear an alternative story than the world can give, or that we could say ourselves.
So may we all in the waiting, and in the longing, anticipating the wonder of the incarnation. According to M.Frost the incarnation is 'the act of sublime love and humanity whereby God took it upon himself to enter into the depths of our world, our life, and our reality in order that the reconciliation and consequent union between God and humanity may be brought about.' (P35) It is my prayer that we may be caught up again and draw alongside others in the wonder of the incarnation: which is at the heart of our faith.
By the way, thanks Andy for letting me have 17th as its my birthday, it seems there’s quite a few of us on here with December birthday’s!