Tagged: Christmas

How will the baby grow up?


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This is the sermon I preached at Midnight Mass. For those from abroad who may be puzzled at the references let me explain. Eastenders is one of the top television soap operas in the UK and the Mitchell family are one of its most famous – or notorious – families.

John 1.1-14

A baby is born. New parents with a tiny child. And at one level Mary and Joseph were no different from any other parents holding a new born baby in their arms. They must have had the same hopes, the same fears, the same questions. A scene repeated millions of times over thousands of years. And like so many parents, as they looked upon their baby, they must have wondered at some level – what kind of person will this baby grow up to be.

Every parent has been there. As you look upon your new child and wonder what the future holds for them, what can you expect? What will they be like as they grow up? What kind of person will they grow into? What will they achieve in life?

Well – I’ve done a survey of a typical area of London and looked at how children turn out when they grow up. The typical area of London I’ve chosen for this survey is Albert Square in Walford, to be exact. For those of you who don’t know where Albert Square is, it’s where the people from Eastenders live. Continue reading

You can’t always get what you want


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The holy family

The gospel reading for the fourth Sunday of Advent tells us of Joseph’s dream about Mary’s expected baby. Joseph – and Mary for that matter – must have been a little perturbed about this somewhat surprise gift from God of a baby. Here’s what I said in my sermon.

Matthew 1.18-end

You can’t always get what you want sang the Rolling Stones. I sometimes think they might have been singing about Christmas presents. They also sound a bit like my mother when I was growing up, and I wonder how many parents will be saying that to their children this Christmas. The problem with Christmas presents though isn’t just that you can’t always get what you want but that too often you do get what you don’t want!

Christmas will soon be over. And we’ll be counting the cost of all those unwanted Christmas gifts. Continue reading

Sermon for Midnight Mass


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We always have, as the gospel for Midnight Mass, the wonderful prologue to the gospel of Saint John in John 1.1-14. Here’s what I said to those gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus at our Midnight Mass.

Will it be the warmest Christmas on record?

That was actually a headline from the Daily Mail in 2011.

And similar headlines have been repeated on a yearly basis with one exception – 2013 – ever since. And this year again similar questions are being asked as we come towards the end of the warmest December on record.

The daffodils outside the church are blooming. They think it’s spring! We’ve had to switch off the heating in the vicarage, and yesterday I had the window open as I was preparing my sermon for tonight, because it was just too hot. Children are growing up with no idea of the joys of making snowmen, or having snowball fights, or tobogganing.

And – I have to say – it’s making it very difficult when it comes to choosing which carols to sing. Singing, “See amid the winter’s snow, born for us on earth below” doesn’t seem quite appropriate. And as for “In the bleak midwinter” with its lines, “snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow”! No chance of that. And as for Bing Crosby dreaming of a white Christmas – well, he can dream on, because we know that yet again we’re not going to see one! Continue reading

Christ the King – Where is our true home?


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It was my turn to preach this week for the feast of Christ the King. Here’s what I said.

John 18.33-37

“We do not go to Church; we live in the Church and go into the world”. Words of the Roman Catholic writer Keith Fournier. “We do not go to Church; we live in the Church and go into the world”.

So it’s Sunday morning and the family are milling around getting their breakfast, cereal is spilling on the floor, the radio is booming out music you don’t like, “Are you going to church this morning Mum?”, asks one of your teenagers who is still lolling about in pyjamas. He’s probably hoping you will say “yes” so there will be a couple of hours free of nagging about doing jobs and homework! You pause, and say “No, I’m not going to Church, I’m going Home”. Continue reading

Christmas Day – the sermon from Midnight Mass


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We had a really full church for Midnight Mass this year. As always, the gospel reading was the wonderful prologue of Saint John’s gospel.

John 1.1-14

On Christmas Day in 1977 over half the population of the United Kingdom did exactly the same thing at the same time. 28 million 835 thousand of us in this country sat down to watch the same television programme at the same time on Christmas Day. And it wasn’t the Queen’s speech! It was …….any guesses I wonder? It was the Continue reading

Advent Sunday


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Last Sunday was Advent Sunday and the beginning of a new church year. I was preaching this week so Father Jerry got the luxury of a week off! Here’s what I said.

Mark 13.24-end

You know that Christmas is coming when the first selection boxes and little bags of gold chocolate coins appear in the shops. I think this year that was the week after we got back from our summer holiday – the second week of September.

You know Christmas is even nearer when the tree goes up in the shopping centre and Father Christmas comes to switch on the lights, as he did in Caterham Valley yesterday – a week later than usual I think.

You know Christmas is nearer still when the first lights go on outside people’s houses – the earliest are usually the first week in December, so watch out, any day now! Continue reading

One for the Road – What I said for Saint John


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The 27th December is the feast day of Saint John, patron of our church, so we keep the Sunday after as our patronal festival. Here’s what I said, though my apologies for being a little late. My script was somewhat annotated from the computer copy and after the service a member of the congregation asked to borrow it to read. Now it’s been returned I am able to post what I actually said.

The Church is often accused of being out of touch with society. Well, it certainly seems to be out of touch with society on the few days after Christmas Day as those who attend mass on the three days after Christmas Day can testify. For they are faced with a Church that is a far cry from the eating, drinking and partying that is going on in the world outside. Get to Boxing Day and it’s clear that the Church isn’t celebrating the way everyone else is at all. Continue reading