My favourite moment in last night's Carols by Candlelight was when a shepherd forgot his lines and his colleague responded with something like, "Seeing those angels has given you amnesia!". All the actors, the visuals, the string quartet/musicians, the choir, welcome team and catering contributed to a superb evening which allowed the packed church to focus on Joseph's role in the nativity.
This annual service is the one I struggle with most. I guess it's because having done it so often (last night was the seventeenth occasion), I'm nervous of having little fresh to say, and every preacher worries about that. I wrestle for weeks with the talk, and last night's was no exception. Many years, I've found myself with three talks as I stood to speak, and it's only once I've gone on that I've known exactly what to say. Last night was a little different, as the focus on Joseph was a take I'd not explored before. How I wished I'd done so before. The focus in the incarnation story seldom falls on him, yet I've been deeply moved as I've considered his life and ministry. His grace towards Mary, his trust in God, and his love for Jesus are all marks of a faithful person. There is much to ponder. You can listen to what I said last night here.