To buy or not to buy the BELIEVE Christmas jumper, that is the question.

I have a lovely Christmas jumper that I bought in desperation on a Sunday afternoon in 2017. It was snowing and icy. The couple who were due to take the Christingle service couldn’t get to church so it was down to me to take the service. No problem! Except….. I didn’t have anything to wear. Up until then I had lived my life quite happily without a Christmas jumper. I felt I should have one to take the service in. Fortunately I lived almost opposite a 24hr Asda. And what’s more, they had a jumper that I liked. So I bought it, and the Christingle service went well.

Now, four years on, I am in a different place and have got my Christmas jumper out of the drawer yet again to wear at various occasions. I do not believe I need another Christmas jumper. Many people comment on how nice it is.

I wore it again last week at a school Nativity/Christingle service. The pupils were allowed to wear a festive jumper – here they are along with one from a concert at church: Which do you believe is the best one?

I enjoy seeing the various jumpers worn by many people throughout December, and having a reason to wear mine. I wore it under my cassock at the Carol service where I was giving the talk, which I gave just after reading the beginning of John’s gospel where Jesus is described as the Word from God through whom all things were made and through whom we have eternal life.

I believe that John 1:1-14 is probably the best bit in the bible. Do you agree? Y/N? What do you think is the best bit, if not this bit? All equally valid and true beliefs.

I believe that the world is round.  Do you agree? Y/N?  Some say it’s flat.  I do hope they are wrong when my brother and his wife fly from California to visit their son in New Zealand, going in a westward direction.  The earth IS round… sorry if there are any Flat Earthers reading this.  People have been up there, looked down and flown round.   My belief is in something that cannot be dis-proved

I believe that my husband loves me. Do you agree? Y/N? This is observable behaviour along with me believing his statement of personal experience. It can be verified by others if they ask him and judge his sincerity. I am 100% certain that my belief is not misplaced.

I’ve given you three different statements of what I believe.  They are not all the same sort of belief. Or belief in the same sort of thing.

I believe that I do not need another Christmas jumper. I do fancy getting one that’s amusing though – perhaps in the sales. I nearly bought one that has the word BELIEVE across the front of it. Have you seen them? It looks a bit like this – I held up the jumper I’m wearing in this photo:

My DIY BELIEVE Jumper

The Marks and Spencer’s Christmas jumper for ladies this year has been snapped up by women clergy as the unofficial uniform for this season.

#TeamBelieve

I haven’t bought one, because to be honest by the time I had cottoned on that it existed, realised that it could be used as a visual aid for a Christmas talk, looked online at the cost, wondered about what size I should order, considered how far it is to drive to the nearest store, and would they have one in my size, I had already done most of my jumper wearing talks. Plus I do not believe in jumping on the band wagon of fashion, and neither do I believe that black is a good colour for me to wear. And anyway, I don’t really like the design. So because of that, I’m out. I am not investing in a Believe jumper.

Other women clergy have said they won’t get one because, in their context, they feel that wearing it would imply that people would have to believe what they were preaching or teaching. That somehow, there was no freedom to doubt or question.   I can’t tell you what to believe. I don’t want people to believe what I say without question.

We all have religious or spiritual beliefs.  Some are simply a matter of opinion. Others are more factual.  I hope that you will consider the facts, the evidence and the experience of others when it comes to belief in Jesus.

I believe that Jesus is God’s son who came to earth as a human baby, who lived and died, rose to new life to bring us into a new relationship with God as adopted sons and daughters.

I believe that the invitation is offered to every single person to invite Jesus into their hearts, to believe in him and to have spiritual new life.

I believe that when we do invite Jesus into our lives, then all the love, peace, joy and generosity of the Christmas season is ours all year round.  That way all the darkness, the sadness, the hurts and pain, can have his light shining into them bringing healing, wholeness and peace of mind.

There’s a phrase in the bible that gives a metaphor or figure of speech of what it means to be daily transformed and changed by Jesus so that you become more like him. It’s put on Christ or Clothe yourself with Christ. (If you want to read more about this click here)

I believe that Christmas Jumpers are great fun and I love to see them come out in December. I would love to see more and more people put on the spirit of Christmas, the love, joy, generosity and peace, all year round. So, why not, as you put on your clothes each morning, put on Christ, put on your Jesus Jumper? That way, you will shine with his light and love brightening up the world around you all year round, not just for Christmas.

And rather than a DIY Jesus jumper – the real thing is by far the better option.

This post is a longer version of my talk at two carol services and a piece for the local paper. One in a rural church and the other at a village drive in carol service in a car park. At the first I wore a cassock and surplice and at the other a warm coat. Neither were jumper wearing occasions. However I did wear the pale blue one and take my coat off for the talk at the drive in event. We didn’t have a very big turn out, unlike last year when we had a huge number of cars. This was disappointing but not surprising given the uncertainty around at the moment with Covid. But what was the biggest surprise of all was that I was able to run across from the stage to the cars with a microphone to do some interactive questioning about what they thought was the spirit of Christmas. It reminded someone of Annika Rice! I could not have done that last year – I’ve lost weight and gained fitness.

I started that talk by referring to Christmas jumpers being part of the spirit of Christmas and then went on to the BELIEVE jumper and I can’t tell you what to believe, but to invite Jesus into your heart so you can live the Christmas spirit all year round by putting on your Jesus jumper – a DIY substitute will not do….. or words to that effect. I did it without a script.

I haven’t bought the jumper, but if I see one in a charity shop or are given one I will wear it next year. I don’t mind being behind the times. After all, the best things in life are those that have been around a while, like the good news of Jesus Christ’s birth. That will never go out of fashion.

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