I just happened to notice the huge growth in comunity carol services.By that I don’t mean those taking place in churches but those happening outside , in shopping malls or town centre squares and  they are just that carol singing usually with a cleric of some sort in attendance.At the same tme some churches report lower attendances at the traditional church based lessons and carols.Is there something we need to learn here? I’ve noticed something else, the rise of light festivals celebrating the winter solstice.Here people are invited to come and celebrate and light a community space with night lights in decorated jars”Let’s bring light to our community ” one poster said.Fifty yards away was a church celebrating Christmas with posters declaring Jesus the light of the world.Somehow there seems a mismatch between the two.No ones fault I guess but somewhere a misunderstanding about the transforming light of Christ being locked into  into church services has happened alongside it being about being religious .I was sad ,for the transforming power of Christ  can bring real light and life to a community.Sister Rita, a cathloic nun in Collyhurst Manchester is followed in her work with the community by a day time TV film crew.Her work with the very poorest people and her expression of the love of God  for these people is bringing community cohesion, light to dark places and real change.No amount of night lights in community gardens will do that .

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