To begin at the end. Mince pies! There - bet that made you feel Christmassy!
Pile on carols old and new, the ageless wonder of the Nativity story, the lofty Christmas tree with bright glass lanterns on either side, candle-light, fun, prayers and, of course, those mince pies - and you have the Advent feast that was The Triangle's Carol Service on Sunday evening (17th Dec).
There's something really lovely about The Triangle on a rain-streaked winter's evening! In daylight the glowing colours of our beautiful stained-glass window dominate the Nave but, by night, the flickering altar candles reflect in the tall window and the traffic lights, on the crossing just above the church, glow though it red, green and back again.
Best bits? Roaring out the old favourites, of course - 'Joy to the world' ,'O Little Town of Bethlehem', 'The first Nowell', 'Away in a Manger', and 'Hark the herald angels sing', but also cutting our teeth on a brand new carol (to us, anyway), "I had a dream" (203).
What else? Listening to the choir singing 'Advent Song' (a new Scottish hymn), the melodious 'Glorious Light' and, during the Offertory, 'Like a candle flame'. Then there was 'The 12 days of Christmas' (with congregation-participation - see the video on our website), the Bible Society's Christmas video, 'Journey of the Wise Men', based on Michael Rosen's children's story, 'We're going on a bear hunt', and a pantomime-style Sermon by our Minister, Rev Hilary Howarth, entitled "No Way".
At each step of the Nativity story -'this most tremendous tale of all', as John Betjeman so memorably wrote, it seemed there was 'No way' it could have happened; that Joseph would agree to marry Mary, pregnant with a child that wasn't his; that the young couple could have made the exhausting trek on the little donkey to Bethlehem; that the son of God would be born in a humble stable or the shepherds would have made their descent into the darkened town. "And there's 'No way' it can really be true", said Hilary."Or is there?" She pointed to the two early readings in the service - from the prophets Isaiah (9:2-7) and Micah (5:2-4) foretelling, centuries before the birth of Christ, the events that would unfold that silent night in Bethlehem.
No doubt about - the Bible has all the best stories. And this one has mince pies at the end! Magic!
Kindly written by Astley Jones