On the Sunday before Christmas St Paul's hosted carols by glowstick at the Vector Arena. It was a pretty ambitious undertaking that involved a lot of hard work for everyone involved. I invited family and friends to come with me and as we arrived at the Vector Arena I had feelings of excitement mixed with apprehension. Last year I didn't last the whole carol service at the cathedral as I was overwhelmed with grief during the singing. I used to love all the aspects of Christmas celebrations and services, fully engaging in the celebration of Jesus' birth..... but now all of those things are overshadowed by the events and feelings of grief as each anniversary of John - my husband's death on Christmas Eve rolls round. So carols by glowstick was something new that I hadn't experienced before and I was hoping that as it was a new experience it would not be tainted by grief....
As everyone poured into Vector, got their glowsticks and took their seats, there was a buzz in the air. The excitement was palpable as Vector was plunged into darkness and we broke our glowsticks together at the countdown. I have to confess that we broke our glowsticks well before this as we couldn't wait to start waving them around.
From start to finish it was fun. Everyone from little kids to adults enjoyed the sense of joy and celebration. As we sung, waved our glowsticks, listened, watched, there was a real sense of God being in the midst of us, enjoying it with us. So for the first time in five years, I fully engaged in a Christmas service, without any sense of grief or loss.... just a real sense of love, celebration and the freedom to fully enjoy, worship and praise God for who he is and what he's done, especially for me over the last five years. Thanks St Paul's for giving me my Christmas back and thanks to God for his amazing love. I wouldn't be where I am today without it!
Thanks to Kevin Robinson for the great photographic images.