Do you think, (expecting a baby and all) that Joseph and Mary got their Christmas cards out on time?

Hello everyone!

Yes we are meeting 10am Christmas Eve morning!

Very few sleeps left to go now!  It’s an unusually shaped Christmas with a Sunday Christmas Eve. We discussed whether to have two gatherings on Sunday – it’ll be interesting to see who turns up when!  There’s the 10am Gathering and the 7.30pm Carols and Communion.  Make your choice or come to both!   Jillene’ll remember her first Christmas here, with 4-5 orders of service before end of work Friday.

Yesterday (Thurs 21 Dec) we’ve had a lunchtime carol singalong.  A modest number came. We sang a mix of trad and new NZ carols.  Two NZ ones were obviously unfamiliar – we’ll sing them again next year!  Jess Brownell added her trumpet in several places along with Bruce Cash on the organ and Jillene’s flute was lovely in the quieter carols.  This could be a tradition in the making!

We were talking at Cuppa and Chat about pressures and benefits of Christmas cards.  Most do not do a huge list of cards now, they’re substituting phoning or emailing.  Christmas is a ‘deadline’, reminding us to catch up with people annually.  Personally, I think a New Year letter is a great idea!

One terrible year when we each had a parent die, Roger and I were almost not going to send anything.  Then Canon Bob Lowe wrote a column about Christmas letters encouraging us to tell it like it was and not worry about no glowing achievements to report.  Remember the Queen’s ‘annus horribilus’?  Her confession (on worldwide television) allowed many others tell the truth more starkly next Christmas time!

For 3 years I marked national exam papers and didn’t get that contact made.  I lost a few friends, especially overseas, who re-located and are now out of reach.  It’s good to ‘keep the circle wide’.

But what about reciprocity – if you give a present/card would the other feel obliged… and if you receive a present or card, then what…?  I mess that up by being an impulsive and chaotic communicator/giver.  If someone gets anything from me this year they may never again!  It can be there’s been a fundraiser and the cake/book/CD being sold is suitable for a particular person.  Surprise, surprise, they get a gift this year (but not next).  There is, for example, a surprised 2017 recipient of a gluten-free Christmas Cake in Christchurch!   Go with the flow – if anything appears from me, this is your year to be jolly!  Equally, don’t feel rejected when nothing arrives in 2018!

Customs and patterns, reciprocity or lack of it don’t matter.  People are people.  If you can make this pressured time or the often empty weeks of January brighter for others, do take the opportunity.  Cuppa and Chat is only taking a week off and will resume on Wednesday January 3 even before the office opens again.  Come at 10.30am and join in the camaraderie if you wish.  Phone a St Andrew’s person or friend or neighbour and invite them for coffee or …  E news is taking a break.  This is the last one for 2017 and the first e news one for 2018 will come out the first Friday of February.

Since my time is usually full, I am looking forward to an empty January – back at work on Tues Jan 30th.  My thanks to those taking services from Christmas Day to Jan 28th, I am very grateful.  Rev Norman Wilkins is available for urgent pastoral care from Dec 25 to Jan 4 and from Jan 13.  The answer machine on 472 9211 will tell you who’s covering Jan 4-13.

I hope you will find a moment somewhere to savour the delight of Love arriving again.



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