Being the last Sunday before Christmas it is not surprising that our day was once again scheduled to be full of carols.
In the morning it should have been the time for the children to treat us to their own special brand of Christmas. Unfortunately the weather together with the road and parking conditions in the town caused cancellation. A real shame as we always enjoy what the children have for us. However, it must be said that it was the right decision given all the circumstances.
By early afternoon conditions had improved a little and it was decided to go ahead with the evening carol service. In order to give people a little more flexibility it was decreed that uniform was optional and this was clearly helpful to some. However, there were also those who still found conditions a little too difficult and, as the pictures show, most participating groups were under strength. Nevertheless it was a good evening enjoyed by all who made the effort.
The service, led by Major Drew McCombe, adopted the theme ‘Aspects of Christmas’ and was introduced with the carols ‘Joy to the world’ (congregation) and ‘Silent Night’ (Rachel Horwood). Using the same tune the following prayer carol was used to accompany the lighting of the four advent candles and introduce five aspects of Christmas.
Wonderful love, Wonderful love
Coming to me from heaven above
Filling me, thrilling me, through and through
O it is wonderful love, O it is wonderful love
Aspect 1 - ‘Music and Carols’ - included items from the Band (Nowell) and Singing Company (Christmas Surprise) together with five congregationsl carols (Good Christian men rejoice, Ding dong merrily on high, God rest you merry, gentlemen, Good King Wenceslas and Go tell it on ther mountain)
Aspect 2 – ‘Messages and Greetings’ – included a reading (John 1:1-14), the carol ‘Child of Mary’ and greetings from Eric Slater and Mel Scoulding. We hope to publish these greetings later in the week.
Aspect 3 – ‘Helping others’ – included the offering, prayers for our Mission Partner Project in Mongolia (a new Salvation Army opening in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar), the Calypso carol and the Young People’s Band.
Aspect 5 – ‘Aspects of Love’ – included the Songsters (On a night like this), a reading from John 3:16-17 and a short message given by Major Beverley McCombe in which she said:
I want to take you in your imagination to the seaside. A man is going out to sea in a boat with his young son and his son’s friend. Al goes well for a while but then the weather changes and the boat starts to get into trouble. The man fears for the safety of his young companions but he only has the capacity to save one of them. What does he do? Could he choose (could you choose?) to give up his son to save another child. God did just that, in fact he gave up his only son for the whole world. Our natural human inclination is often to give up the least we can but God gave the best he had for the salvation of the world. Everything changed because of that. Love changes everything.
This was followed by the song from Aspects of Love ‘Love changes everything’ sung by Paul Woodhouse.
The evening concluded with the carol ‘Hark, the herald angels sing’.
No, we’ve not forgotten the concert to be given by the Rainham Ladies Choir and the Band last Saturday evening in the Historic Dockyard Church. Unfortunately it was cancelled because of the snow.
If we don’t see yo again before the big day, have a very Happy Christmas and don’t forget to visit us on Christmas Day for Major Drew McCombe’s Christmas message.