Club Chaplin Revd Andy Ackroyd's Christmas message ahead of the Christmas Carol Concert
Over the past few weeks I have been driving up and down to Bridlington at all times of day and night. My Dad has been facing his final few weeks of life as he’s been battling with dementia. To use a cricketing metaphor, we might want to say he has had a ‘Good Innings’. At the end of November, he lost his battle with this appalling illness.
As a family we have sat with him as dementia took the last few bits of his dignity. As a family we remembered the good times of health and happiness, especially when he ran his Ice Cream Parlour. What a childhood that was, fresh-made Italian Ice Cream for dinner most days in the summer months. For the last few weeks we have experienced joy and sorrow together.
At the same time, I have been going backward and forward I have been thinking and preparing all my Christmas services and events. Thinking about the story of the birth of Jesus, is another source of joy for Christians. More moments of joy alongside the pain of loss. Those moments of joy and loss feel a bit like being a football supporter, a huge range of intense emotions, changeable so quickly.
At our Christmas carol concert this year, we’re also going to be thinking about the joy of the Christmas story, and yet allowing space for those who need a moment to reflect on life’s challenges. The joy of Mary and Joseph, the wonder of shepherds travelling to the stables, the wise men journeying to come and worship Jesus. Through some readings and well-known carols, we’ll be remembering this joy and wonder which crop up all the way through the Christmas story.
We’ll also hear about what Christians describe as “God’s amazing journey.” Of God coming to earth as a tiny baby. One writer described it as “God couldn’t make himself any bigger to impress us, so made himself smaller to attract us.” Or, as the Bible puts it, “the word became a human being, and moved into the neighbourhood.” This birth of Jesus is an amazing event for all involved, but the life of Jesus reminds us that God understands the frailty of our human experience as well.
This year we can offer an opportunity to take part in this Christmas journey for yourself. We’d love to welcome you at the Shrewsbury Town Carol concert on Tuesday 17th December at 6 pm in the Sovereign Suite at our wonderful ground. Do come along. Or why not get along to your local church sometime over Christmas, where you’ll find a great welcome, some beautiful Christmas carols, and hear the life changing Christmas story.
Revd Andy Ackroyd is the club chaplain. His ‘day job’ is as Vicar of 12 rural churches between Telford and Shrewsbury www.wrockwardinedeanery.org.uk