The Christmas season is a funny time of year. Everyone says to me, “You must be very busy at this time of year” and in many ways of course that it is true. There are any number of services to prepare for, from nativity plays and nursing home services, to full-blown carol services and Christingles. Each of them needs their own particular message tailored for the occasion, and there is the inevitable challenge of getting a fresh message from the Christmas story and presenting it in a way that gains the attention of the hearers. There is also the unseen pastoral ministry to the frail and the elderly saints who themselves cannot share in the celebrations.
But some things become less. We don’t hold church meetings – except in case of emergency. For a couple of years now I haven’t done any funerals apart from those in church (there is a cartel of irregular ministers who work full-time for the local firms). So it would be fairer to say that the rhythm of the Christmas season is quite simply different. It’s more about direct gospel work and presenting the good news to people in and outside the church. In that sense – although there is so much to do – the Christmas season is one of opportunity, generally unfettered by paperwork and committees (we’ll catch up with all necessary stuff in January). That is at the end of the day the kind of ministry I enjoy. I’ll see whether I still feel that positive once we reach Boxing Day… but I do know seeds will have been sown.