24th December 2019 Christingle Services

24th December 2019 = 3 Christingle services at St. Nicholas Church East Dereham.

The Venerable Ian Bentley, Archdeacon of Lynn, led the 3 Christingle Services, assisted by Lay Minister, Evelyn Speed and Simeon Sheep!.

As is usual, the first service was the biggest, with the necessity to accomodate people by including seating in fron of the large, beautifully decorated Christmas tree behind the altar.

      

The Archdeacon began each service with an energetic rendition of 'The twelve days of Christmas'. Pews and seating were numbered 1-12, and people  in each allocated number seating had to participate by standing on their relevant day of Christmas. Pew 1 stood up each time the first day of Christmas was mentioned, pew 2 stood on the second day of Christmas, and so on through to the 12th day of Christmas.  There was much laughter, with pew one having the most to do as was mentioned at the end of the list as the twelve days were sung in reverse order each time!

The familiar Christingle service then followed. with Ian guiding the very large congregations through the proceedings.

At each service, children lit the candles on the Advent wreath.

   

Evelyn and Simeon led the inter-active Bible reading.

Ian explained the meaning and significance of the individual components of the Christingle, with the help of the children in the congregation, who answered Ian's questions. 

      

Evelyn and Simeon had a puzzle for the congregation, as she secretly placed decorative items on a hidden picture. Could they guess what the picture was?

   

Following the placement of  tinsle, lights, candy canes, an angel and a star, the congregation was asked what the picture might be......their answer was a resounding 'Christmas Tree'.......but when revealed, they were shown a picture of 'The Nativity'. The tinsle was the stable roof, the lights were the shepherds' lanterns, the candy canes were shepherd crooks, and the large star and angel adorned the starlit sky, above the stable. Evelyn gave a short talk about the importance of remebering the reason we celebrate Christmas, and suggested that their own deco's at home could remind them of the picture before them, and remember that this is the celebration of the greatest gift God has ever given mankind.

Children read the prayers at each service, with the help of Ian.

The climax of each service was the giving out of the Christingles, followed by the safe lighting of each and every Christingle cadle. There is a wonderful beauty as the lights are dimmed, the children's faces are illuminated, and everybody sings 'Away in a manger', with an extra verse this year, written by the Archdeacon.

                  

It is always a special time after the service, to sit in the porch with Simeon Sheep, and see so many happy, smiling faces leaving to go out into the cold night air to go home to celebrate Christmas, knowing that so many have heard the true message of Christmas.

The children of Dereham are hearing the Gospel in Collective Worship, their school Church Services and at these Christingle services each year. Do include them in your prayers for 2020, that God may grow the 'seeds' we are sowing.


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