In my view, that was THE best Bible Study Christmas party ever, even though just an hour before it began it looked as if it might be an unmitigated disaster. After an overnight dusting of snow, treacherous roads and paths, and persistant sleety rain, two of our stalwarts wisely took the decision to stay home. Would anyone else come? Yes!
In the end, nine Iranians and I were sat around my kitchen table, which was a glorious muddle of Bibles, colouring, sticking and mugs of tea!
We began by asking the children to tell us the Christmas story, which they did with aplomb. This, on its own opened fascinating conversations about who the magi were, what on earth is myrrh, and much more.
Next we read the account in Luke, and I invited folk to comment on what was 'missing' or 'different' from the story we had shared... the bare mention of Joseph, the addition of the visit to Elizabeth, the lack of innkeeper or kings. We pondered what Luke's aim was and why he told his story as he did.
Then it was on to Matthew and the same process... who or what were these magi, however many there were, and where did they come from? Herod as a puppet-king. Joseph dreaming about angels.
Briefly, as time ran out, we looked at the start of John, with its beautiful poetry, and noted that Mark simply plunges in with a fuilly grown Jesus being baptised by John.
After all that, we shared some yummy food, chatted more generally and covered all sorts of topics as diverse as premarital sex, university tuition fees, Brexit, how I was called by God to ministry, the Trinity and much, much more.
Some days ministry is just the best role on the planet - and this is one of them.