Christmas Day at the Bandstand

Christmas Day dawned bright and sunny, no sign of a white Christmas

We met together and celebrated this special morning

May we…

As the light begins to shift and a crack appears in heaven. As stars slide across the darkness and angels clear their throats. As an unborn agitates with the labouring of love

may we…

as incarnation moves from promise into life. As words of prophecy spill into every empty silence. As you, O Love, shift restlessly and begin to let go

may we…

as the world turns and the rumour goes unnoticed. As grandiose words are spoken yet never contain the word. As the longing and waiting and calling are missed

may we…

may we shift restlessly along with heaven at the breath-taking vulnerability of hope, speak justice into the silence of injustice, move towards those, others move away from, may we forgive in order to bring new life to the world, prepare to change as all of heaven changes now, live towards what is right and away from what is wrong.

May we pull on the hope of Advent live on the cusp of incarnation and proclaim with our lives the Good News of promise of hope in a messy world of Emmanuel…..

may we… may you make way for birth

for God with us!

(With thanks to

Thinking about Christmas Day 100 years ago in the trenches during the First World War we listened to the music of Silent Night, praying for peace and echoing the words of the angels to the shepherds “Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men”


Memorial to the First World War Anniversary. Hall Leys Park, Matlock


It is so cold.
The lines of this poem are sinking
Into the unforgiving mud. No clean sheet.

Dawn on a perishing day. The weapons freeze
In the hands of a flat back four.
The moon hangs in the air like a ball
Skied by a shivering keeper.
All these boys want to do today
Is shoot, and defend, and attack.

Light on a half-raised wave. The trench-faces
Lifted till you see their breath.
A ball flies in the air like a moon
Kicked through the morning mist.
All these boys want to have today
Is a generous amount of extra time.

No strict formations here, this morning;
No 4-4-2 or 3-5-1
No rules, really. Just a kickabout
With nothing to be won
Except respect. We all showed pictures,
I learned his baby’s name.

Now clear the lines of this poem
And let’s get on with the game.

No white penalty spot, this morning,
The players are all unknown.
You can see them in the graveyards
In teams of forgotten stone;
The nets are made of tangled wire,
No Man’s Land is the pitch,
A flare floodlights the moments
Between the dugouts and the ditch.

A hundred winters ago sky opened
To the sunshine of the sun
Shining on these teams of players
And the sounds of this innocent game.
All these boys want to hear today
Is the final whistle. Let them walk away.

It has been so cold. The lines
Of these poems will be found, written
In the unforgotten mud like a team sheet.
Remember them. Read them again.

© Ian McMillan for the Premier League and The Poetry Society


 Sharing bread and wine we used part of Steve’s Christmas Liturgy


It might not have been a white Christmas but here are some views of the park after Boxing Day snow


Band Stand in the Snow


WW1 memorial


Shadows in the Snow