"Snow had fallen, snow on snow" begins the well known Christmas Carol ‘In the Bleak Mid-Winter’, and so it was on the evening of our Carol Service when a large congregation gathered in this beautiful Parish Church of Woodbridge. A huge Christmas tree stood proudly at the back and the sight of it, so beautifully decorated with lights and gold ornaments, greeted us as we entered. As always, the choir was in fine voice, accompanied so expertly on the organ by Dr. Giles Brightwell and conducted by Bob Pegnall. Men, women and children sang together as they performed popular, and less famous, Carols. The Christmas story was retold and a feeling of expectation grew as we anticipated the great events surrounding the coming of the Holy Child of Bethlehem.
On Christmas Eve, it was the turn of the young members of our congregation of four hundred to create the crib in front of the altar at the ‘Service of Light’. As they placed the figures and animals into position, their eyes reflected the excitement of the approaching day. A poster reminds us that ‘Christmas Begins with Christ’ and the youngsters discovered again the reason behind the ‘big day’ was the birth of their friend, Jesus.
Later that night, Midnight Mass was celebrated, again with St. Mary’s filled to capacity, as it is each year. Our talented team of ladies had produced a stunning sight with seasonal foliage and red flowers; familiar words were spoken; the choir led our singing brilliantly once more; in prayer, we remembered those for whom this was not a time of rejoicing, with special reference to the families mourning the loss of young men and women in Afghanistan; in his inspiring address, our Rector, Revd. Canon Kevan McCormack, captured the magic of the night which is so easily lost in our materialistic and commercial society and invited everyone to stand in the stable, get in touch with the crib and experience the amazing difference this can make in our lives.
On Christmas Day, Holy Communion was shared by many at both the 0800 service and the Parish Eucharist at 1000. Indeed, at the services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, around 1,300 folk celebrated here at St. Mary’s, and it was a joy to welcome them. Later, a traditional Christmas Lunch was cooked and served in St. Mary’s Church Centre for twenty three guests, for whom this Christmas was particularly difficult, for whatever reason. Donations of wine and Christmas puddings were gratefully received from The Galley Restaurant, and the Rector carved the turkey and supervised the washing up! Janet Kersey entertained by playing her keyboard beautifully and the companionship they all shared, together with a wonderful meal, was much appreciated. Sincere thanks are expressed to all who worked so hard to make this annual event the success it was.
As another Christmas passes and a New Year begins, all at St. Mary’s wish you peace, health and happiness in 2010. There is always a very warm welcome for each and every one of you here at your Parish Church. Do, please, join us during the year if you can. And we hope to see you again next Christmas!
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