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Viewpoint from Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick 02/12/2016 

JONATHAN MEYRICKRt Rev Jonathan Meyrick
Bishop of Lynn

also published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury

Ove the last few years, I have been asked to bless the cast at the start of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular season. It’s always a joy to do so, as I think I said last year. They have asked me to write another poem for this year; I finished it just before writing this:

Carols and candles, voices upraised,
Mellifluent tunes, flickering flames;
Then in an instant, bodies displayed:
Glory to glory, divinely made –
Dance then and sing for God’s Birth Parade
dove leftComes in a whirl, flying feather boas,
Spirits are rising as tensions lower –
Anxiety, strain, falls from each face;
Human limbs become pure liquid grace –
All to embrace the manger of faith
Laughter re-echoes long past the joke;
Smiles transform us, make us radiant folk;
Held cosy and warm, after-show glow
Will guide, illumine, the long road home –
Something seen of the manger of hope
Organ, percussion, strings soar above;
Music, poetry, crowned by the dove:
Dazzling movement and vibrant colour,
Woven with skill and warm-hearted touch,
Showing afresh the manger of love
Dove rightI have tried to capture the combination of gaiety and fun with the emphasis on the re-telling (and rejoicing in) the Christmas story. The first time I saw the show I was struck by the way in which this combination was handled. It is a glorious, rollicking performance, but it always ensures that there are carols sung beautifully and that the birth of Jesus is included

What I seek to do when I bless the cast is to remind them that at the heart of this dazzling feast of entertainment is the story of God made man in the manger filled with straw in that inn stable all those years ago. The show’s success depends not just on the quality of razzamatazz, but also on the moments when the reality behind Christmas is glimpsed. Moments of wonder and awe – reminders that beyond the jollity is the baby Jesus and the pointing of others to the faith, hope and love that he will offer to us all

I guess that each year, among all the carefree and happy, there will be some for whom Christmas brings griefs and anxieties, personal anguishes. For them, to be given glimpses of the deeper realities of Christmas and the love of God for them will be of real enduring value

I am firmly convinced of the importance of Christmas being merry and joyful. I love all the tinselly fripperies. I am equally convinced of the reality that should lie at the root of all our merriment: God became man to share both our joys and our sorrows and to lift them and us up to himself. May you find something of that reality in your celebrations of Christmas this year