It seems that the celebration of Christmas begins earlier each year, and we could be forgiven for thinking that the great festival is little more than a vast commercial venture designed to boost the country's finances!

We all know that the true meaning of Christmas has become hidden under the trappings of commercialism, and being a multi-cultural society we are encouraged to take care not to be overtly Christian for fear of upsetting the non-Christians. I was reminded of this recently when I chanced on a Christmas card showing a family walking towards a snow-covered church. One of the children asks his parent “Why have they dragged us here at Christmas?”

This made me think of the hugely popular Christingle service where churches the length and breadth of the country will be full of young families, many of whom will be making their annual appearance at a place of worship. I wonder if any of our annual visitors ever give a thought as to how we manage to keep our church open for the other 364 days in the year. Perhaps we should have a slogan in the order of service saying, “A church is for life, not just Christingle”!

As ever, the church choir will be singing a range of carols at the three carol services (Advent, Christmas and Epiphany) and there will be the opportunity for all of us to join in with the “usual” carols, and that is the thing I love most about the Christmas services. There is little to equal the sound of massed voices singing from the heart – even rivalling the might of the organ!

Away from Christianity, the trimmings and trappings of Christmas have given rise to the composition of some great Christmas songs, and there will be the opportunity to hear some of these when the choir gives its first “Jolly Christmas Music” concert in St James' church on Friday 22nd December  at 7.30pm. Come and join us for 45 minutes of light-hearted songs such as “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer”, “White Christmas”, and other gems, together with traditional secular items like
“The Gloucestershire Wassail”. No charge, but donations welcome.

                                                  Nigel Davies

Music for December

3rd      am                                 Wachet Auf – J S Bach   St Stephen Mass – Ireland

           pm                                 Advent Carols

10th     am                                 All-age Service

17th     am                                 Christ is the Morning Star – Rutter
Missa Brevis - Lotti  

           pm                                 Christmas Carols

24th     pm                                 Midnight Mass

31st     am                                 Anthem to be announced      Mass of St Mary – Davies

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