Christmas Lights

by David Clarkson

Christmas Lights

This week saw 'Black Friday' sales in the shops and there has been a mixed reaction.  There were fights, abuse and injuries as people tried to get the 'bargains', some of which, it turns out, were not bargains at all.  One woman is reported as being delighted with her deal on a hoover despite the fact that she didn't need a hoover!  For me it shows just how far the focus has moved onto 'things' and away from any sense of the 'spirit of Christmas'.  We are judged by what we own as much as by what we do rather than by the kind of character we have.  Well, that's what we're told and while I suspect that is true for many people it's not true of all people.

Last year we got together with the local Business Association and ran a competition in Prestwick around the time of the event where the lights are switched on. As a congregation we wanted to do something to help local businesses when things are difficult in the high street.  Of course we also wanted to have a way of engaging with the community around the Christmas story.  We got together and put some sheep in some shops suggesting that a trainee shepherd had lost them and couldn't go to see Jesus until they were found.  People had to go into the shop to find the sheep and the hope was that they might also buy something.  Each competition leaflet had the basic Nativity story and service times.

This year it was the choir of angels the got lost and we don't yet know how many entries we have, however, eight volunteers dressed up as angels yesterday and went into Prestwick to give out competiton entires and Penny Gospels.  We had a great time and were well received in pubs, coffee and gift shops as well as on the street.  The atmosphere was peaceful and there was a great sense of fun and excitement.  Nobody refused a leaflet or Gospel and we got the chance to explain what we were doing and why.  I don't know how to determine if that was 'successful' but I do know that when the focus of the event was on something other than sales and 'things' the atmosphere was positive and encouraging.  And on top of all that hundreds of people were invited to church and got a copy of Luke's gospel.  Now we pray that some of them will make the effort to come.

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