Sunday, 28 December 2008

Do vicars do nothing?

Or to be more exact, does THIS one never do anything? It's an accusation I sometimes hear from a special needs' teacher I know. I don't blame her, because when she comes to church here she does often find me sitting in the congregation.... And I suppose you, dear blog reader, might feel the same. 'Surely Christmas MUST give him something to write about. Has NOTHING happened in his little world?' Well, my excuse is I've just had too much happening. I've been too busy. I'm sorry if you feel neglected. Nothing personal.

Hopefully you'll have been following instead Aleem Maqbool's progress from Nazareth to Bethlehem in company with a donkey (or to be more exact five donkeys in succession) on the BBC. His favourite was No 3, the magic donkey, which I think he got onto in a couple of days having had bad experiences with his first two. No 4 wasn't much better, though she looked all right, and No 5 only had to get from the Donkey Sanctuary near Bethlehem into 'the city of David'. The fact that the Bible doesn't mention Mary and Joseph using a donkey doesn't matter, as the main interest turned out to be the ground level view at walking pace of that incredibly divided area. It's worth reading - and while you do, you might like to guess which donkey I identified with most!

However it's true I'm a lot slower doing all the stuff I used to plough through before Christmas. But we still had a good Christmas here. A nice country celebration, Carols by Candlelight, Crib Service, 'Midnight' Communion (actually ours is at 10 o'clock, dating back to when the Anchor's throwing out time was 11 on Christmas Eve - the church is on the main path through the village) and then a full house on Christmas morning. I don't know how many came through the church over the week. I guess about 350 to 400. Which suggests that faith isn't dead, or even dying. Which I hope gives some people who say God has had his day pause for thought.

Of course popularity is no proof of truth, any more than voting on Strictly Come Dancing indicates the best dancer. Personally I thought Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup's show dance WAS a show stopper, ideally suited to him, even though I'd accept the judges' verdict that he wasn't the best all-round dancer. But the people voted with their 'phones. Coming back to Christmas, it stretches scepticism beyond reason to doubt the fact of Jesus' birth. And that's the foundation of the good news, that the creator of the universe lived a human existence. And it's good news for everyone, so the more get to hear it the better as far as I'm concerned.

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