Priest's Page...

'Maureen's Musings'

December 2009

Happy New Year!
No, I haven't gone mad and forgotten Christmas - how could I?! But I thought this month I would begin by reminding us all that the Church's New Year begins with Advent Sunday - which this year is on 29`h November. That's when our readings change, as 'Year C' begins.

Ever since Advent 2008 - before I even arrived in Pattingham - we have been hearing the Gospel mainly from the version we attribute to Mark. Scholars have associated Mark with being a close associate of St Peter, the foremost among the first Disciples of Jesus.

But on Advent Sunday we will switch to the Gospel of Luke - and remain with that version for most of the next 12 months - with additions at times from John's Gospel, whose more poetic language is always good at the major festivals - Christmas, Easter, etc.

Luke is known as an associate of St Paul, of course, and was a gentile and it is thought a physician - so there are lots of stories about Jesus' ministry of healing. Luke also seems to have appreciated the part that women played in Jesus' ministry and among his followers - so there are more stories where women play a noticeable part - but this may just be because he wants to emphasise that the Good News is for all people, regardless of status - even for `foreigners' like himself; even for women.

But at Christmas we will, I am sure, hear parts of the favourite story of the Nativity of Jesus Christ drawn from both the versions we have in the bible. So Luke gives us Mary's great, song of freedom, the Magnificat and the Shepherds while Matthew gives us a fuller account of Joseph's part in the story, and the Wise Men... how can we choose which is most important to our remembering Jesus' birth?

I am looking forward to sharing with you all in the Advent and Christmas Festivities for the first time. This year we will journey once again (not to Bethlehem - well not literally!) but to Patshull on the afternoon of Sunday 13"' December for an informal festival of carols and readings - with refreshments to follow at the Hall - a real treat. Then the following Sunday evening, the 20th December, will see the traditional '9 lessons and Carols' here in Pattingham. And I understand the Christingle Service on Christmas Eve is generally 'standing room only'- thanks to Chrissie Ringrose for organising this again this year.

If anyone wants to help those less fortunate during the festive season, then I am reliably informed that Steve Jones would be delighted to take any gifts of toiletries, good toys and non-perishable foodstuffs for the projects supported by 'P3'. Based in the Midlands but with a national reach, P3 has been offering supported housing, mental health services, link worker schemes, outreach, prison in-reach and a variety of youth services for over 25 years. P3 now work with over 2000 people a week experiencing a variety of social exclusion needs. Please bring your gifts to church during the first half of December as usual.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas (and a healthy and prosperous New Year)