#299: Which is very nearly 300. I wonder if the Queen will send a telegram

(photo from the light display in Forbury Gardens)

Bertie the fearless travel and tourism reporter here- well, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed by the lights in Reading- they kept talking about biscuits and about biscuits being made there and how you make biscuits and where the biscuits were sent to and how long the factory was open- it was enough to make you quite hungry- but when it came to sampling the biscuits there was a shocking and surprising lack of actual, tangible, eatable biscuits. I imagine that my slightly big-boned cousin Bertrude got there first and hoovered them all up, which is always his way. He thinks it is charming- the rest of us listen to our grumbly tummies and disagree.

Anyway, to business…

The Story so far

Thank you to everyone who has already worked so hard to clean our churches and ring the bells light candles and print orders of service and lead the singing in Church and run the livestream and sing carols in the market-place and ring other people and all of the other necessary jobs and joys which go into making Christmas in all three of our churches look so effortless- thank you. Thank you to to those who come along to Church and those who join online.

Extract from an email of thanks after Nine Lessons which we were delighted to receive, from someone who does not come regularly to Church:

I attended the Service last night (Sunday 19th) and wondered whether you could pass my thanks on to the choir and choir master. The choice of songs and delivery were absolutely beautiful. The whole mood of the evening was both calm and uplifting and I just want the people who contributed to the music to know how touched I was and that I’m still thinking about it today as I work. Thank you.

Coming Soon (and do please wear a mask for our services and try to take a Lateral Flow Test before you come to reduce the risk of a spread of Covid)

Christmas Eve Crib Service in St Paul’s Junior School Playground at 3 and 5pm: we sadly can’t guarantee the weather so do please dress for the conditions especially if it looks like rain. Do also come dressed to play a part in the story- it will be amazing to welcome the whole community.

The Midnight Services (9 at St Nick’s and 11 at St Paul’s) are relatively straightforward, as is the 8am BCP on Christmas Day.

Then, at the 9.30 on Christmas Day, please being along a present to show as well as one figure from your crib set which will help to illustrate the sermon. (This applies at Woosehill at 10am as well). Also, if you get chance, please could you email Louise with a photo of your crib set which we can include in a slideshow on the livestream.

Ands don’t forget the service on Boxing Day/ St Stephen’s Day/ the 1st Sunday of Christmas which will be at 9.30am at St Paul’s, and is also one of the two services the Diocese are advertising for their Livestream. Do come along if you are here and able. There will be no service at St Nick’s or Woosehill on the 26th- but lots of carols at St Paul’s.

The Orders of Service will be available for this weekend from the website, and the links to all of the livestream services are also there.

There will not be any Morning Prayer next week- we will start back on the 4th of Jan.

Coming to a Close

We wish you a very happy Christmas from everyone in the parish, whatever you are doing, whoever you are with, however you feel.

Mary Cassidy has sent in this article to read over Christmas: https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/finding-god-in-what-is-tender-and-small-this-season/?

Cara’s joke of the week– How do angels greet each other? Hey lo.

Jim Bell’s joke of the week– Have you seen the abominable snowman? Not yeti.

And a poem from John Sutton which feels especially appropriate as the rate of Covid rises and we begin to look beyond Christmas towards what the next weeks might bring for us all:

Hope by Rosemerry Waholta Trommer

Hope has holes

in its pockets.

It leaves little

crumb trails

so that we

when anxious,

can follow it.

Hope’s secret:

it doesn’t know

the destination-

it knows only

that all roads

begin with one

foot in front

of the other.

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