Hot Off The Press: InSpire Winter 2013 – 13 December 2013


The front cover of the Winter 2013/14 edition of InSpire.

The front cover of the Winter 2013/14 edition of InSpire.

I’m exhausted, but really rather pleased.

The latest edition of InSpire is done, finished, and printed – and, best of all, it’s in time for Christmas.

Of course, I am not there suggesting that the parish magazine will make an ideal Christmas present – nor, even, a stocking filler – but I’m delighted that it can form festive reading over long lunches and boozy afternoons.

But here’s the real cause for my delight: inside the magazine are four-and-a-half pages of photographs of the Christmas Tree Festival, something observant readers will note only begins today (Friday).

The great trouble with trying to do a Christmas edition is that you actually have a very narrow window between the creation of Christmassey content (pictures of Yuletide events and so on) and that bloated ’27 December’ feeling. It’s the reason we’ve never printed any report on either of our previous Christmas Tree Festivals.

The solution was for me to edit the bulk of the magazine earlier in the week, leaving space for a ‘Picture Special’ on the Christmas Tree Festival. Last night (Thursday), I got the required photographs while at church anyway (Mum was carol-singing around the parish with Thursday Group). Essentially, I had the building – and the freshly-decorated Christmas trees – entirely to myself, giving me the time and space to get some appropriate images.

I then worked through the night to import and edit the photography; make final changes to the magazine; and do one last proof-read. I think that, this morning, I went to bed at about 5:30am, and I was up at 7:45am to get ready for school. So I’m functioning today on just over two hours’ sleep.

Man, I’ve never felt more like a proper journo.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you: the Winter 2013/14 edition of InSpire.

Thumbnails of the pages from the Winter 2013/14 edition of InSpire – the St Luke's Church, Maidenhead, parish magazine.

Thumbnails of the pages from the Winter 2013/14 edition of InSpire – the St Luke’s Church, Maidenhead, parish magazine.

A Note From The Editor
InSpire Editorial Column by Andrew Burdett
December 2013

I am sat at the back of church and all around is the smell of fresh firs. It is Narnia, a winter wonderland; it’s wonderful. Our Christmas Tree Festival, which opens to the public tomorrow, has become a staple fixture in St Luke’s countdown to the big day. “It wouldn’t be Christmas without it.”

But that’s a phrase I always find a bit odd. I think it’s brandished about a bit too carelessly. Everything, from hereditary recipes to Cliff’s calendar, gets this weird status attached to it. Surely the only thing “it wouldn’t be Christmas without” is Jesus?

There’s a lot of people who’d subscribe to that thinking, to such an extent that they’d argue only Christians should be able to celebrate Christmas. (Certainly, it’s easy to find oneself wondering why we should ‘slog it out’ every week, when everyone else just seems to turn up at Christmas for ‘our’ big day…)

But, stop. Wait. The inconvenient truth is that, whether they know it or not, anyone who spends time with their loved ones at this time of year is upholding a deeply Christian message: that of the importance of family. Christmas really does bring people together. (Just as well, really, given all the stress and anxiety it generates in the weeks prior.)

As many readers know, my brother now lives in Cardiff, my sister in Edinburgh. Having spent years arguing with them every day, nowadays I barely see them at all. Happily, this Christmas, they’ll be home in Maidenhead and we’ll celebrate as a family. Rather sadly, I’m beginning to wonder how many more we’ve still got – as the five of us – to enjoy.

However you choose to celebrate, however much you spend on presents or food or decorations, it’s down to remembering Jesus is at the heart of it and everything else is on top.

Happy Christmas and new year.

Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a twenty-something from Maidenhead in Berkshire, working for ITV News.