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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Joy to the world!

Over thirty Christian women (and one man!) gathered round a piano and a violin, singing carols, reading from the Bible, praying for those caught up in terrorism and war, praying for those in need, singing more carols, eating mince pies.

Beside me, a woman from France. Other side of me, two women from Russia. Across the room, a woman from South Africa, a man from Sweden, a woman from Norway. Me, a woman from America. Many women from Scotland. Many others from England, Northern Ireland, Wales. 

All singing in English, carols familiar to some, new to others. Some singing springing forth from hearts full of love for Jesus; some singing – maybe forced – from hearts broken and breaking; some singing because they love singing; some singing for the joy of singing with others; some singing with new understanding and appreciation for the awe and wonder of the story itself. Singing for all sorts of reasons.

Nevertheless, all singing from the same carol sheet today. All singing to the Lord Jesus, praising his name, worshiping him.

Some go to one church in the town; some to another; some to churches in the city; probably some to no church at all.

But week after week throughout the year, we gather in smaller groups, in various homes and one church hall, with one aim in mind. To study the Bible, get to know God better, fall in love with him deeper, support each other on life’s journeys. No doubt many start the journey out of loneliness or out of a desire for fellowship, seeking family in an anonymous and foreign world. No doubt the journey looks different for many – for some, the road leads to fulfilment and faith; for others, it leads to the next staging post on the road to understanding and belief; for some it may even feel like a cul de sac.

Bound together this morning through the harmonies and melodies and descants, the laughter and coffee and pies, the voices tinged with accents from far and wide, thirty women (and one man) wanting to celebrate the reason for the season. Wanting to lift Jesus to his rightful place. Wanting to keep the Prince of Peace in the centre of seasonal celebrations. Wanting to ensure that Christ is in Xmas. Christmas.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Prince of Peace. Immanuel. God with us.

Let the tinsel fall where it will. Leave the glitter nails and party frocks and fancy canap├ęs and mulled wine for a few moments during this festive season, and raise your voice to the King of Kings, born a baby in stable humble while his poor parents, perplexed but obedient, experienced the first Christmas in awe and wonder.

Joy to the world. All races, all nations, all classes, all genders, all abilities. He came for us all. Joy to the world.

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