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Christmas Lunch 2010

I’d had a difficult lead-up to Christmas with illness and a death in the family, and the prospect of Christmas didn’t appeal. Although I wanted to be alone, close friends encouraged me to come and join in the open invitation to everyone on Christmas Day at Riverside House. It was the best thing I could have done – the Lord blessed me with joy and I felt strengthened (“Your joy will be my strength”).

We were such a mix of over 65 people, with adults and children, different cultures, and people from within Riverside and from those of other communities. The richness of the food was its variety – Chinese dishes, curries, soup, rice, and vegetarian, followed by rich desserts, cheese, biscuits, chocolates and cakes, and plenty for all.

Several of us worked together laying tables, decorating, while up-beat African music set a party mood – and a chilled out, relaxed party atmosphere was felt by all. As food was served, thanks to God (“grace”) was given in 9 different languages!

Our time together was characterised by servanthood, washing up, welcoming, sharing jokes, and a huge helping of love, warmth, fun and joy. There isn’t a better expression of the wholeness and blessing of God’s family than the time we enjoyed on Christmas day. For me, this Christmas turned my “mourning into dancing” and my “sorrow into joy”. A heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Riverside, Sara and Mark Willott and their community group who made it all possible and to all who were involved. I’m ready for next year!