‘You’d better get there an hour before the service begins if you want a seat!’ Not something which, it has to be said, I hear much about our services in the Valley, but it is wonderful at least once every year we get a huge proportion of the Valley population in the church – perhaps 350 people out of a total population of 1600 is pretty good really…Candelit with carols just wonderful, in the beautiful St Mary’s Easton.
Fantastic peals from our bell ringers rang out across the Valley and wonderful descants from our scratch choir – and two surprise items from the choir at the beginning of the service Little Town of Bethlehem and at the end Ding dong merrily on high – thank you David Truslove our Director of Music who organised this for us!
The centre of the service is of course Jesus…but we remember his birth by delivering nativity figures to the crib. As the children arrive they get handed one of the figures to bring up to the front. But as this service gets busier and busier you have to be quite brave to fight your way through the crowds with your nativity figure…which if you are embarrassed anyway is quite a feat – so those of your children who were willing to bring the figures to the stable, I salute you!
This year two of the nativity figures – Joseph and Mary and a donkey had a perilous journey round 27 families as part of a Posada – this is a Mexican Christian tradition by which the young families of the community provide the inn denied to Joseph and Mary in the nativity story by welcoming these nativity figures into their house for a night. Amazingly the figures arrived in perfect time for the beginning of the service…
The Crib service is a great start to Christmas in the Valley, this simple re-telling of the Christmas story in narrative form by Oliver Denniss from the pulpit, interspersed with carols, Vanessa Rosewell reading the lesson from Luke, Revd Amanda Denniss preaching about the ‘ordinary day’ that the shepherds had had until they were given the choice as to whether to look for the Christ child…she also told a very funny joke which if you weren’t there to hear it….well you missed out!
Thank you so much to everyone who got the church ready – the beautiful flowers – thank you Penelope and your team and who lit all the candles – thank you Christopher Burness and his team and to the church wardens Theo and Vanessa who make it all happen!