Christmas lanterns in Teddington
Last night Santa pulled up in his sleigh outside my church. In his wake he brought a horse dressed as a reindeer, two (adult-sized) elves, over 70 willow and paper lanterns, and a crowd of over 100 people. In fine tradition we stood in the rain and belted out the carols as our carol sheets slowly turned to mush. As the last notes of ‘O Little Town’ faded away, the crowd began to disperse to the shops and cafes who had stayed open specially, and the remaining carol sheets were stretched out to dry.
When I got home I read accounts from numerous other ministers and Christian friends who were in their traditional carol services. For the most part they sounded lovely – with everything from candles and soloists to star-shaped prayers pinned on a ‘tree of Jesse’ by young and old. Its all a far cry from Santa and his elves really. The thing is, we have to find God in the midst of Christmas as it has become, rather than looking for him in a purely religious context which no longer exists beyond the church.
I would rather have carols in the street with the elves and the community than keeping them purely within the church’s walls. What do you think?
On Saturday I shall be on Premier Radio’s Men at Work show discussing exactly this topic. There’s a short clip below, and then you can hear the rest on Saturday evening.