2019 Christmas services
Saturday 14 December, 6.30 pm
Christmas carol service at Western School (this service is not suitable for babies and young children)
Sunday 15 December, 5 pm
Christingle service at Western School in aid of the Children’s Society
Saturday 21 December, 10 am
Animal nativity in St Paul’s car park, followed by hot chocolate and craft activities
3 for 3.30 pm Nativity service at Winchester University dining hall (children are invited to come dressed as angels, shepherds, wise people or stable animals); from St Paul’s walk along Clifton Terrace, St James’ Terrace, across West Hill Cemetery and to the university’s main reception on Sparkford Road (no. 12 on the diagram); if you come by car, there is free parking in the Dytche (marked B on the diagram)
11.30 pm Midnight Eucharist at St Matthew’s
8 am Holy Communion at St Matthew’s
9.30 am Family Communion at Western School
11.15 am Holy Communion with carols at St Matthew’s
You will probably be reading this around the time of the general election. What a turbulent year it’s been for our country! Perhaps the seasonal themes of peace and goodwill will help us to gain a renewed perspective? Maybe the holidays will give space for each of us to take a deep breath and reconnect with those deep-down things that we know are so important.
This season reminds us of the vulnerability that is part of being human. We see it so clearly in a newborn baby. With so much affluence around us, we’re conscious of those who have little, both nearby and far away; our Christmas collection will be for Christian Aid and its work alongside those in greatest need. And if you live with pain of any kind, I hope the coming days aren’t too tough.
The building work inside St Paul’s is going really well. Watching it develop, I have an overwhelming sense that we’re doing the right thing, and that the renewed St Paul’s will open up all sorts of new possibilities. It’s proving really good to use Western School for worship. In the coming weeks we’ll miss the big space St Paul’s offers. Our huge Christmas Eve Nativity will be in the university (as you will have seen above), which will be fun!
May your Christmas celebrations be a blessing to you, your family and all with whom you share them.
What is this seed that God has planted,
unasked, uncompromised, unseen?
Unknown to everyone but angels
this gift has been.
And who am I to be the mother,
to give my womb at heaven’s behest,
to let my body be the hospice
and God the guest?
Oh, what a risk in such a nation,
in such a place, at such a time,
to come to people in transition
and yet in prime.
What if the baby I embody
should enter life deformed or strange,
unable to be known as normal,
to thrive or change?
What if the world, for spite, ignores him,
and friends keep back and parents scorn,
and every fear of every woman
in me is born?
Still, I will want to love and hold him,
his cry attend, his smile applaud.
I’ll mother him as any mortal,
and just like God.
From Cloth for the Cradle, worship resources and readings for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Copyright © 1999, Wild Goose Resource Group (WGRG), c/o Iona Community, Glasgow, G5 9JP, Scotland. Reproduced by permission.