This Christmas was an unexpected surprise. Cecilia and Pawel had prepared a simple program of music and stories. We heard the Gospel of Matthew, remembering the great surprise that first Christmas was for the shepherds. We heard The Christmas Carol read aloud, remembering how much Christmas is about sharing the joy of being together, no matter how difficult our circumstances might be at the moment. Fr Paul showed us a beautiful nativity scene, highlighting how much the ordinary (St Joseph drying clothes by the fire) is always intertwined with the extraordinary, because the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Then, remembering that Jesus was born into a Jewish family in Palestine, we learned a traditional Jewish dance together! Suddenly, dancing together, we discovered how good it is to be together and celebrate that here, now, we are loved. That was the start of the most surprising part of the afternoon – our Christmas caroling. We had told everyone they could prepare something to share, whether poetry or music or art and were amazed at the beauty of what each person had prepared. We heard solos and duets and even the whole community from Brooklyn sang something special! We finished with a song dedicated to all those who have had a rough year, sung with particular beauty by a friend who has had a pretty rough year herself – Let it Be by John Lennon. A gentle reminder that this is what friends are for – to help us remember that we are not alone, because Emmanuel, God- with- us, has come to dwell with us in our “ordinary” days.
Special thanks to Carmen, Louis, Marie, Anthony, Selina, Felicia, Sergiola, and Becky!