Tagged: nativity

A child is born – sermon at Midnight Mass


Part of the crib at St Johns Caterham
Scene from the crib at S. John’s, Caterham Valley

Here we are once more waiting for the big event tomorrow. Here we are with the story of a new-born baby, of a young single mother, with questions being asked about who the father of her child is!

Well, when the big event finally arrives we won’t be disappointed. Yes, it’s no secret – it’s been in the papers – that the truth about the father of Hayley Slater’s baby will finally come out. Quite how Alfie Moon is going to explain this to his wife Kat should be interesting. The big event, of course, is the Eastenders Christmas special (Note: Eastenders is a British television soap). And one cannot help but wonder, if like me you watch Eastenders, how the future is going to turn out for the poor baby in the middle of all this as she grows up. If you don’t watch Eastenders you won’t have the slightest idea what I’m talking about!

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Hail Mary, full of grace


Luke 1.39-55

Well, it’s all over for another year, with people across the country wondering what on earth to watch on TV last night – we certainly were! Yes, a week ago yesterday Stacey Dooley and her partner Kevin Clifton were crowned Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing with the Stars outside the UK) champions for 2018, with Kevin shouting out live on air, “it’s a Christmas miracle.“

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Strike a light!


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Sermon for the Midnight Mass, on the prologue to John’s Gospel.

John 1.1-14

 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

In the beginning God had been very busy creating things. And it was tiring! So God said: Wow! I’m worn out. I’ve just created a 24-hour period of alternating light and darkness on Earth.

The angel said: What are you going to do now?

And God said: I think I’ll call it a day! Continue reading

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

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

4th Sunday of Advent – and what I said about the Blessed Virgin Mary


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The gospel reading for the 4th Sunday of Advent this year was Luke’s account of the Annunciation, the visit of the archangel Gabriel to Mary to announce the forthcoming arrival of a special child. Here’s what I said.

Luke 1.26-38

History is full of ‘What ifs’. What would have happened if particular events had turned out differently. What would have happened if people – world leaders, influential office holders – had made different decisions? What would the world look like today?

In a week that has seen the announcement of the first woman bishop in the Church of England it is interesting to reflect that if a particular person had, at some point in the past, said ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’ the announcement would not have been made. And if you’re wondering who I mean then let me explain. Continue reading