Category Archives: Christmas

Longest Night Service

longest night

Christmas is meant to be joyful but in reality life can feel difficult and painful, particularly at this time of year when the nights are long and other people seem to be planning celebrations that are a long way away from how we feel. We know that this can be particularly true for those who have recently lost a loved one.

Our Longest Night service is an opportunity to sing quiet carols, light candles and share our feelings with God. We hope to offer space and time for quietness and reflection, and reassurance that we are not alone even in our darkest and most difficult times. We will look for God’s comfort and hope and the real message of Christmas that comes to shine light into our darkness.

If this time of the year feels a bit empty or hard for you, do join us for a service at Enstone Church on Saturday 21 December at 6.00 pm. The service will last for about 40 minutes.

If you are coming by car, please park in Little Tew Road and walk to the Church through the Churchyard.  Do bring a torch!

Should the weather turn wintery and it is necessary to cancel the service, we will post a notice on the Benefice website here.

SaveSave

Longest Night Service

longest night service.jpg

Are you looking forward to Christmas?

From the middle of November, shops, media and advertising collude to convince us that Christmas is magical, full of joy and fulfilment. Cares are banished and laughing children reinforce the message that sadness and anxiety have no place in the festivities.

But for many reasons Christmas can be a difficult time of year.  Perhaps a family bereavement, a broken relationship, loss of a job, or ill-health – there may be any number of reasons why people find it hard to join in with the festivities all around them. Many people find Christmas difficult as they are reminded of what they have lost or have never had, and we can feel very alone in the midst of all the celebrating and spending.

If you are not looking forward to Christmas, we would like to invite you to a special ‘Longest Night’ service on Wednesday 21st December at 7.00 pm in Enstone Church.

You will find space and time for quietness and reflection in the busyness of the Christmas season, and through music, readings and prayers that will focus on the true message of Christmas – God’s gift of hope and reconciliation to a hurting world, in the form of a vulnerable baby, born to shine a light into our darkness.

It’s our privilege to offer a space where the reality of life with its grief and pain does not have to be left at the church door but can sit alongside the hope and light which is the real heart of Christmas.

The service will last for about 40 minutes.  All are welcome – no church experience necessary.

The Knitted Donkey

knitted-donkey-copy

During Advent families from villages of the Benefice take part in a Posada. Posada – Spanish for “shelter” – is a custom that originated in Mexico where nativity sets of Mary and Joseph visit a different family or place every night between Advent Sunday and Christmas Eve. Our “Posada” consists of a knitted Joseph, Mary and a much loved Donkey.

Inspired by this custom, Rebecca Abrey has written and illustrated a children’s story book that tells the tale of the of a little knitted donkey’s journey and the fun that he had along the way.  You can see a few of the pages below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 32 pages with 13 colourful original illustrations.

Copies are available to purchase at £6 [£7.50 with postage].
£1 from each sale goes to The Children’s Society.

Buy Now Button

Christmas in pictures

We had a fantastic Christmas in the Benefice this year with record numbers at all our services.  One of the highlights was having three week old baby Isaac as Jesus at the Chadlington Crib Service!

Thank you to all those who worked hard to make it so special.  Here are some memories ….

 

 

Enstone School singing Away in a Manger

Joy to the World from the Enstone Carol Service – with handbells!

The Longest Night

The 21 December is the longest night of the year.  It is cold and dark and the warm balmy evenings of summer seem a long way away.

Over the past few weeks we have been remembering in prayer all those who find Christmas difficult.  Dealing with the loss of a loved one, facing life after divorce or separation, coping with the loss of a job, living with an illness that puts a question mark over the future. Things like this make the joviality of celebration painful for many people who feel ‘down’ at Christmas. It is good to be able to
acknowledge these feelings and to bring them to God.

The author Jan Richardson has written a beautiful piece of prose that offers healing and hope.

May the presence of Christ our Light, who goes with us in the darkness and in the day, be yours this Christmas.

Mark Abrey


 

Blessing for the Longest Night

longest night

All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.

It has practiced
walking in the dark,
traveling with
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.

So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
reach you
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.

You will know
the moment of its
arriving
by your release
of the breath
you have held
so long;
a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
a thinning
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.

This blessing
does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
to travel
in the company
of a friend.

So when
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.

This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.

© Jan Richardson, from janrichardson.com

Image: Longest Night © Jan Richardson used with permission