Posted: 23 December 2015

Advent: Jesus wants me for a lightbulb

Revd Kate Bottley joined 500 young people for a Christingle service in Westminster Abbey. She recounts the lessons learned in today’s Advent calendar blog.

 

A couple of weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of preaching at Westminster Chapel. What made it even more incredible was having over 500 children join in from local schools. 

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Once I’d finished modelling some of the beautiful school hats, and swooshing around the entrance in my cope, the service began.

I was charged with delivering something memorable, neither too long nor too short, but something just right. The responsibility loomed large enough to make the night before a sleepless night.

But when the whole Abbey broke into ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ I momentarily forgot myself and no longer worried that my waffling would leave them uninspired or, worse still, asleep

My message was simple.

It is faith that matters. And faith can take many forms:

It can be like fairy lights, pretty and entertaining but only on display once a year.

It can be like a bold, bright light that is a beacon, even to those in the distance.

Or it can be like emergency lights, something that is most apparent during times of need.

Jesus didn’t ask us to fit a particular mould, to be a particular light bulb. He asked us to have faith that shines however we are made. We are only instructed not to hide it under a bushel or as the song goes, ‘This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine’.

And what better explanation of light and the central message of the Christian faith is there than a Christingle? So simple yet profound and full of mystery.

I don’t know what impact my talk had.

I couldn’t work out if anything of the gospel message had stuck or if they actually thought I’d been funny. But as 500 young people encircled the inside of Westminster Abbey, Christingle’s lit and faces shining, I realised it wasn’t about me anyway.

By Kate Bottley
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Help us stop child sexual exploitation this Advent

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Advent: Holy is your name

Posted: 22 December 2015