The power of assembly is strong when it's hitched to a spectacle – it's why we turn up to football matches, theatre performances and concerts –
and there are few more potent expressions of community togetherness than a colourful Christmas service. Who wouldn't want to share in that ... and
then feel a smidgen of regret that the full weight of the event's symbolism was denied to them?
Others might just like the tunes. In the same way as you can appreciate Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescos without having a religious faith, so
can you enjoy a Requiem by Mozart, or the sacred polyphony of a church mass by Renaissance composer William Byrd, or the annual Nine Lessons And
Carols, broadcast live from King's College Cambridge. Or even just the sight and sound of your children's primary school class singing Once In Royal
David's City, or mugging their way through a nativity play.
Coming so close to the year's end and having as its themes birth, hope and celebration also makes Christmas a convenient time to take stock and