Because the Holy Trinity Church in Greenfield is closed for building works, we had a choice this year to do nothing, or to take the opportunity to do something different to mark Christmas in the community.
We wanted to give the community the opportunity to be part of the story, rather than just listening to it or sitting through a service done for them by others. Everyone had a part to play in our Living Nativity and it included the whole community because we walked the streets of the village telling the story. As well as traditional readings and carols we heard from the not-so-wise ‘wise man’ shopping for the baby Jesus, we heard the tale of the farmer, irate that the shepherd would leave his sheep and go into town, we heard from the ‘village gossips’ about Mary and Joseph running away together because of the ‘illegitimate’ child. The story, as well as Jesus, was brought down to earth this Christmas in Greenfield.
Over seventy people turned out onto the streets of Greenfield this year, many of them not regular church goes, proof that in our largely individual lives, people are crying out for events such as this where they can gather together as community, not for church necessarily, but to celebrate and join together. I think it is essential to do something together like this which builds better community and is food for the soul and for our society.
I believe the event showed that Christmas is not just about presents, tinsel and turkey, or even about going to church once a year, but about something which is shared out amongst the community. There was no Mary or Joseph in our stable, hastily constructed out of straw, at the back of the Packet House, because we were all playing those roles. There was no Jesus in the manger, because this year, Jesus was born into the manger of our hearts where, hopefully, he will be cradled and nurtured.
Various news clips from the event…
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00pg4yr/Good_Morning_Wales_23_12_2009/ From 1:53
Ac yn Gymraeg!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00pdztn/Post_Cyntaf_23_12_2009/ From 1:28