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Viewpoint from Rev Marilyn Zipfel 27/11/2015 

Dove rightRevd Marilyn Zipfel
recently retired Lead Chaplain, James Paget University Hospital


Advent 2015


The season of Advent comes at the beginning of the church year: The word Advent means "arrival”

The focus of Advent is preparation which we believe leads to the remembrance and celebration of the birth of Jesus and the expectation of his second coming. This year Advent Sunday is on 29th November

So there’s less than a month until Christmas Day – under four weeks to buy all the gifts, get the food in, make sure the cards are written, and all the presents are wrapped.  The countdown has started and the next few weeks are sure to be some of the most frantic and frenetic of the year
I wonder if anyone has Christmas all ‘sown-up’. By that I mean preparations are planned and executed
 dove left
A couple of years ago I thought I had got at least one aspect of Christmas sown-up! I was due to do several Christmas talks to different congregations within a short space of time. So I wonder how could I tell the Christmas story in a new and interesting way?
Fortunately over time I had been collecting various Christmas items so I placed them in a small Christmas box that together helped me tell the Christmas story
The first item I found was found a sparkly ‘angel’ tree decoration which reminded me of the angel’s visit to Mary. Then a plastic glittery ‘star’ and a handful of straw to help people think of the manger. A pair of powder blue baby socks, a small toy sheep and a little crown help us recall the infant king. Lastly, there was a coarse wooden cross, bigger and rougher than all the other items, which takes our thoughts beyond the concept of Christmas Day
I used that box several times that Christmas to tell the Christmas story but it’s not something you could use year after year – however, as 25th December gets closer to Christmas people have begun to ask me what I have in my box this year! People have remembered the little items in the box that helped me tell the Christmas story
This year I am hoping to find another unusual ‘way’ to tell the greatest story ever told