‘Don’t be shy’, come and join us at Christmas is the message - The Evesham Observer

‘Don’t be shy’, come and join us at Christmas is the message

Evesham Editorial 18th Dec, 2022   0

A FORMER Bishop of Sodor and Man who now lives in Evesham has encouraged ‘shy’ local residents to embrace the spirit of Christmas.

The Right Rev Robert Paterson made the light-hearted plea after spending a day in the heart of the town handing out free mince pies to Evesham shoppers.

But he was left puzzled by the ‘small number’ of shoppers who were so keen to avoid any interaction he feared they would walk into a lamppost.

Speaking to the Observer, the assistant bishop in the Diocese of Worcester, offered encouragement at this busy time of year for many people.

“It was a Saturday in the weeks before Christmas and I was helping to distribute free mince pies in the Market Place and Bridge Street while a crowd of people sang carols to the accompaniment of a brass band. Many people took a mince pie and we gave away a couple of hundred in an hour,” he said.

“What puzzled me was something I had noticed before, a relatively small number of people are so anxious to avoid contact with strangers they’ll detour round obstacles or even walk past with their head turned away – leaving me worried that they might walk into a lamp post!

“Is this just a sign of shyness or a way of avoiding engagement with an old man with a cross on his chest, a tray of free mince pies and a bunch of Christians singing carols?

“Without noticing it, we’ve forgotten the big stories, the tales which help us understand the world we live in and our place in it.

“These may be stories about our past where communities hold in the back of their minds and which shape our attitudes.

“Our society has lived with Bible stories – especially the stories of Christmas and Easter – that have shaped who we are as a just and caring people for many centuries.

“Suddenly we find that they’ve gone and we didn’t notice. They were there until recently, even if they were just in the background, but now they’ve disappeared!”

“We can turn our heads away – look out for the lamp post! – and just erase the birth of Jesus from Christmas, or we can spend a moment to remember that this story has shaped our society for generation after generation and still can.

“Discover Christmas in the birth of Jesus and your place in the world he loves,” Bishop Robert added.

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