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Christmas Message

Ross Message

holy family

Nativity scene

Here is a Christmas Message from Ross , our president.  We are just about to enter the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas.  As a number of groups meet monthly, Ross has written to each group before the month of December in the hope that everyone will receive his message

Due to the exigencies of time and topicality I am putting quill to parchment in November and already some of my neighbours and all the shops in my urban village of Addiscombe are displaying Christmas lights and decorations.

My mum wasn’t a great singer but one of the few songs she sang [in addition to “A bicycle made for two” and “If you were the only girl in the world” ] was“Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat; please put a penny in the old man’s hat. If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do; if you haven’t got a ha’penny : God Bless you”. The current jingle seems to be “’tis the season to be jolly, come into our shops and spend your lolly”

The reason that we have a holiday {Holy Day) at Christmas {Christ Mass) is because we celebrate the birth of Jesus, just as we celebrate our own birthdays each year and the commercial world is taking advantage to make money [ hence Greggs much mocked sausage roll in a crib and Cadbury’s marketing its chocolate Advent calendars under #cadvent. Some would consider this blasphemous ; I just think it ludicrous!]

I bought a sandwich recently in my local Co-op and there was one bedecked in Christmas decorations and termed Boxing Day lunch [ contents : smoked turkey, smoked ham, winter slaw and spicy chutney] with a use by date of 24th November: is it any wonder that front gardens are full of wilted Christmas trees on Boxing Day? My wife and I put up the decorations on the weekend before Christmas and take them down at Epiphany . My wife is from Donegal and still refers to the 6th January as Little Christmas [ in Ireland it is also know as Women’s Christmas and the tradition (still very strong in Cork and Kerry)entails the men folk taking on household duties for the day…] and all this happening before Advent which the secular world completely ignores but the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from three different perspectives: in the flesh in Bethlehem, in our hearts daily, and in glory at the end of time. I usually go to the Pax Christi Advent Carol Service in early December in Central London and find this the perfect antidote to the commercialism so evident elsewhere and head homeward rebooted spiritually.

As is my wont, I attend my local folk music club the weekend before Christmas and sing traditional carols to a largely secular audience and feel that I am covertly evangelising by so doing. I have a trio that I trot out every year [ “King Herod and the cock”; “The holly bears a berry” and “Sound, sound , your instruments of joy”’ all of which can be seen and heard on Youtube Music ( not sung by me, I hasten to add)] plus “The Mistletoe Bough” ( a sad tale about a bride who gets married on Christmas Day and decides to play hide and seek and is never found) which has a lusty chorus. I always finish off with a wassail song which has a wonderful chorus

Love and joy come to you and to you your wassail too

And God bless you and send you a happy new year

And God send you a happy new year.

So I wish you all that and a happy and holy Christmas.