A Short Christmas Blog

On the Sunday before Christmas I get to attend the Carol Concert at St. Columba’s Church in Crosspool. It has become a traditional Christmas invitation, and I am invited to give a Reading, along with other significant members of the local community.

There is a warmth in the welcome and a true community spirit in the event. The congregation is actually a combination form two churches in Crosspool. Accompaniment for the Carols is given by Tapton Wind Band (including some of our ex-pupils playing songs they were knocking out four years previously at St. John’s on our Concert evening). Readings are given by a local Councillor, staff from both Lydgate schools, the Chair of Crosspool Forum and poignantly a representative of a refugee charity here in Sheffield.

There are young people in the congregation who are current and past pupils at our school, and it was obvious that parents appreciated me being there and making my contribution. School is a central figure in the local area and our children contribute highly to the feel of the locality.

At school last week I was continually referring to the simpler messages of Christmas – that it is at its heart a simple story of hope and promise based on the lowly birth of a child. Three times I came back to gift giving and stressed that it is not the extrinsic cost of a gift that matters but the intrinsic value. In ‘in the bleak midwinter’ the ‘voice’ asks in the last verse what she or she can give, poor as they are? In the story of the Christmas significance of the Poinsettia we find an impoverished street child offering a posy of weeds as gift to the baby as it is all she has. And in the final reading we heard how Mohammed, an asylum-seeker living here in Sheffield, does voluntary charity work as he sees there are others in greater need. What can we give? We can give from the heart and of the heart.

This Christmas I am giving to all my family gifts I have made, with love. I remember a friend once explaining why her homemade bread was better than shop-bought. Simply, she said, it was because she kneaded in some love. Give love this Christmas, and find and share peace.

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