A Christmas Retrospective
So we actually pulled it off. In God’s kindness. I know you were all on tenterhooks!
Like all the very best church planting, it was all a bit last minute and seat of your pants stuff. But I wouldn’t want you to think that it wasn’t carefully planned and meticulously well implemented. It was. It’s just that you know there are going to be some unforeseen unfortunate events! My personal favourite was the moment when we lost power to the keyboard mid carols and two of us were scrabbling around on our knees in the dark trying to work out which lead had become dislodged from which socket. It was only afterwards that someone pointed out that the singlest biggest clanger of the evening had been the bit where the band played Once in Royal David’s City to the tune of Hark the Herald Angels Sing. No one seemed to notice!
All in all, it really was a terrific evening. We had loads of guests so that we were almost twice as many as we usually are. OK, that’s not that impressive if you’re only six people. But we’re normally about 25 and there were only a few shy of 50 in the room. That was terrifically encouraging. For sure, the brilliant carol services at our friends, All Saints Peckham would have been in their hundreds. But the guys who came to us weren’t planning on going to those. And so we seemed to be reaching a group of people who otherwise might not have gone to a carol service at all. That was exciting. The gospel is such good news that it’s fabulous when people get to hear it in an environment that’s conducive to listening.
As expected given the talented line up, the music was lively. The decoration was inspirational and very ‘new’ Peckham. The recycled cardboard Christmas tree and hessian baubles screamed ‘smashed avocado and knit your own yoghurt’ in a wonderfully ironic self deprecatory way. Whilst we’re on the subject of self deprecation, I think I did an adequate job in speaking. I did my best and tried to bring my ‘A’ game. I knew that I had limited time. I’m not sure what people were expecting from what we entitled as a ‘Christmessage’. My guess is that if you go to a Christian event you know there’s going to be a sermon of some sort. But I also imagine they think that’s a ten minute thought for the day kind of a thing. I stretched the ten minutes out to fifteen. And spoke quickly. Too quickly, I suspect. But I did my best to explain that the single greatest present that we could ever receive has already been given to us by God in Christ. People listened. They may well have been persuaded. Time will tell.
It may well be that we do this again. For lots of us, we’d never done anything like this before. New Year’s Eve Watch Night services are a much bigger affair. But it was good to do this. And to do it together. But we’ll probably wait till next December before doing it again!