Dear friends,

Christmas approaches rapidly (memo to self: I haven’t bought Helen’s present yet). On
Tuesday I gave an online talk about Welsh Christmas to the diocesan clergy, and next week
I’ll be doing an interview at the Cathedral for the Christmas ‘Dechrau Canu, Dechrau
Canmol’ on S4C. There was a time when I thought that my twentieth and final Christmas at
Christ Church would be rather an extravagant celebration. It turns out instead that it will be
quieter than usual, with quite a lot of it on Zoom. Perhaps that’s more fitting. After all, when
God came among us as one of us for our sake, it was in a stable while almost everyone,
apart from the angels and a handful of shepherds, was fast asleep.

There is something very special about the intimacy of that first Christmas. As a curate, I used
to wander through the streets of Aberystwyth at 5.15 in the morning, heading for the 6
o’clock Plygain in St Mair. It was dark and peaceful, and the only lit up windows were those
of church members getting ready to go to the service. One of my elderly parishioners, who
came originally from Llanddewibrefi, told me how, as a little girl, she would get up at 5am
on Christmas morning for Plygain. She used to watch the flickering lights coming down the
mountain towards the church. They were the lanterns used by the hill farmers and their
families to guide them along the narrow footpaths. ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the
darkness has not overcome it’, as St John tells us in the Christmas Gospel.

Despite the present difficulties, signs of hope seem to be multiplying on an almost daily
basis. It seems certain that Christmas will return to a more usual pattern in 2021. By that
time, of course, I shall be happily retired, banned from taking services, and lurking cheerfully
incognito in the back pew of some friendly church enjoying the ministrations of my former
colleagues. In the meantime, they and I will do our best to help you celebrate Christ’s birth
with as much joy and gladness as we can muster.

We have had a kind letter of thanks from our neighbours at the Salvation Army,
acknowledging the £250 raised for them by the retiring collections at our Harvest services
this year. Thank you to all those who contributed for your generosity, which will help
individuals and families facing all kinds of pressures at this time

[THIS WEEK’S SERVICES: Wednesday 25 November 10.30am HOLY EUCHARIST in Church;
ZOOM EUCHARIST; 5pm ZOOM EVENING PRAYER. To book seats and in case of Zoom
difficulties please get in touch with Delyth, Kristie, Rosemary Bowen, Malcolm Jones, or
myself.] ******* The annual Local Ministry Area Vestry and PCC Meeting is on Zoom on 26
November at 7pm.

Canon Patrick

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