Who is Welcome at the Crib?
By 4pm on Christmas Eve, every chair was occupied and many square feet of floor as well. Many would help to act out the story. Others mingled, there was lots of movement as the queue at the bar waxed and waned, and children shuffled around – there was fun and chatter but attention was unwavering.
A small stable scene was on a table at the front with knitted nativity characters added as the story unfolded. And the story and Christmas carols were led by Wylye Valley Lay Worship Leaders, Vincie and Gill. Images and words were projected onto the TV.
As the shepherds and wise men approach the crib, the story took an unexpected turn. They were stopped as ‘unsuitable’ to approach a king - dirty, smelly & sleeping rough among their sheep, or foreigners who didn’t speak ‘our’ language!
The same happened for a harassed female executive and a family on their way from the foodbank, also a group of excited children – who IS welcome at the crib?
A third voice appeared and announced we are all welcome at the crib!
The Nativity is just the beginning. The baby Jesus grew up to be the man who is ‘God with us’ – Immanuel. He came alongside and welcomed all kinds of people – rich tax collectors, outcasts, Roman soldiers, blind people, women, little children.
He died on the cross (and one was carried forward to stand beside the crib). He rose again on that first Easter Day. He is in every time and every place, ready to welcome us all.
We could all came to the crib and children sat round as we sang “Away in a Manger” and said our prayers.
Following the gusty singing of “Hark the Herald Angels”, some left with chocolates and books, others mingled round the bar and chatted. All with hopefully something to think about!
A huge thank you to everyone, especially the bar staff, who helped at Codford’s Crib Celebration and as we left Sarah, the Manager said: “I’m booking you in for next year”.
See you there! Happy 2024!