Monday, 24 December 2012

Beach Hut 24

It's the 24th December and we're at the end of our Advent countdown to Christmas. 

Hut 79a was our last destination and the hour we spent there from 5.30pm - 6.30pm was the final countdown to the special day.

Throughout December a special clock has followed us around to every hut.  It featured 24 numbers instead of the usual 12 and the short hand stayed static pointing at the date that we were on.  The long hand always counted down our hour on the beach.

That clock took over the whole hut tonight and not only marked the time for us but also entertained us with music and song on the theme of Love came down at Christmas.  We listened to the song as played by Jars of Clay which you can watch here.
We were also treated to a great version of the nativity based on Bohemian Rhapsody called Bethlehemian Rhapsody.

Once the clock had chimed the hour we had a short reading about the wise me and the gifts they brought for Jesus and reflected on the gift of Jesus given to the world on that first Christmas.  

Everyone got given a small gift box to take home and open on Christmas Day with things in it which you cannot buy, including a little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Then we had the draw for the Bill's hamper as seven people has managed to get to every single hut through the month.  
This went to Steve and Karen which seemed very appropriate as Karen is due to give birth herself in January.  We wish them both joy in their new family life together.

That brings the 2012 Beach Hut Advent Calendar to a close.  We hope you have a merry and blessed Christmas and that the gifts you receive will remind you of God's gift of love.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Beach Hut 23

Tonight was busy at hut 381 and not just because there were lots of visitors to the Beach Hut Advent Calendar - but the hut itself was crowded with people.

Flo and Jon Pepper had created a host of adoring worshippers who were all gazing at the light of the world which was buried at the back of the hut.

Dressed in everyday clothing, this congregation reminded us that the people who witnessed The First Nowell were ordinary folk going about their daily lives, not exotically dressed figures from a magical land.

Our final hut of the 2012 Beach Hut Advent Calendar will feature a countdown to Christmas with a real donkey, the draw for the Bill's Christmas hamper and gifts for all in preparation for the celebration of God's gift to us on Christmas day - see you at hut 79a. 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Beach Hut 22

Amidst the howling wind, mist and bursts of rain, Kirsty Tyler created an awesome image of majesty and humility in hut 424 tonight.

The theme carol was All Hail the Power of Jesus Name which is about the kingship and victory of Jesus as Lord of all, but the installation reminded us that he came to show a different perspective on this.

First was a plain band of gold, like the simple baptism bracelets given to babies at their christening or worn in paintings of royal babies as a regal diadem.  

Then came the crown of thorns showing Jesus as the servant king who died in the service of humanity, and finally was a royal crown in all it's splendour and glory, symbolic of Jesus who sits at God's right hand.

All of these were suspended and tethered to mitigate the effect of the wind which constantly battered us throughout the evening with relentless persistence.

We're drawing close to Christmas Eve and tomorrow are in hut 381.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Beach Hut 21

Earlier in our journey towards Christmas we had a contribution from the Twelve Days of Christmas in the form of a Partridge in a Pear Tree.  We also had an Olympic torch as the centrepiece to another hut which focussed on the light of the world.

Tonight brought those two themes together as we celebrated Five Gold Rings, both from the song and from the Olympics.

As we mentioned on the 16th when this song appeared for the first time, it's thought that the twelve days of Christmas is a coded way to remember key facts about Christianity.  

Five Gold Rings reminds us of first five books of the Bible, four calling birds are the four gospels, three French hens are for the Trinity, the wise men  or faith hope and love (depending who you talk to), two turtle doves are the old and new testaments and the Partridge in a Pear Tree is Jesus on the cross.  

You can find the full list of the meanings of this song here.

So we had golden rings aplenty tonight, all arranged in Olympic style in hut 225.

The next hut is 424 and will be the creation of Kirsty Tyler who has produced angel wings and a cardboard nativity in previous years.  There may also be some live music, weather permitting.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Beach Hut 20

We were In the Bleak Midwinter tonight, although fortunately the weather wasn't quite so bleak as last night.  There was a strong Westerly wind (opposite to last night) to contend with and crashing waves on the beach which was at high tide as we started our beach hut vigil, but the rain stayed away which always makes things a little easier.

Hut 341 has become a tradition in our annual advent calendar as it always features a tissue paper collage which is lit from behind to illuminate the night.  

This evening the midwinter scene depicted various aspects of a woodland winter, with a little forest hut, reindeer and a collection of assorted animals and trees.  

All of these were beautifully backlit in a darkened hut so as to emphasise the strands of colour which made up the backgrounds.

The next hut is right in the middle of the seafront, close to The View and is number 225.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Beach Hut 19

It was the worst weather so far tonight with a strong Easterly wind and almost continuous rain, so we had to strategically place a car to one side of the hut to act as a windbreak otherwise everything in it would have flown off to Worthing, despite being weighed down with pebbles.

O Little Town of Bethlehem had a political edge to it as Helen and Mary decided to mix the story of Mary & Joseph journeying to Bethlehem with the current situation in the land we call holy.

Bethlehem was set in the background of the hut but Mary & Joseph couldn't get to it because they were blocked by the 700 Km separation wall which Israel is constructing along the West Bank.

It's interesting to note that if Mary & Joseph wanted to make their Christmas journey today, they probably wouldn't be able to as it would involve crossing this wall and getting special permits.  There's an interesting video that highlights this on youtube at the moment which you can watch here.

Some of the graffiti on the model wall in the hut reflects what is actually painted on the wall in Israel, including the rather odd sign from the Israeli Tourist Board greeting all the visitors to the wall, including those who it's designed to keep out, with the words 'Peace be with you'.

Hopefully the weather will calm down a little by tomorrow when we're at hut 341.

Tomorrow at 8pm we feature as part of George Clarke's Amazing Spaces Christmas special on Channel 4.

Beach Hut 18

Tonight we were focussing on the circuit of the stars and the passing of the seasons with an ingenious artistic invention courtesy of local artist Nick Sayers.

Nick has created a Bicycle Spirograph which takes the principles of the pattern making game, which uses cogs to generate symmetrical drawings, and scales it up to a giant, beach hut, size.

The whole floor of the hut was taken up with the mechanism which was created from an old bike and children were encouraged to get into the hut and push the mechanism round to create a variety of patterns on the floor.

Everything was lit by one of Nick's signature lights made from hundreds of cable ties and Joni Mitchell's The Circle Game was the theme song, with its reference to childhood, the cycle of life and the turning of the seasons. 

Our next hut is number 382 and will focus on the holy land.  

This Thursday at 8pm we feature as part of George Clarke's Amazing Spaces Christmas special on Channel 4.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Beach Hut 17

Weather and beach hut theme came together tonight as they were both In The Bleak Midwinter.

To be fair the weather wasn't too bad this evening as those who come down to the beach often give the opinion that the weather is fine as long as it's not raining - any amount of cold is easier to bear than even a small shower.

Hut 11 was the epitomy of bleak midwinter as it depicted a hut-sized snow scene containing a stark and bare forest.

We're back to the west end of the huts next as we head to Hove Lagoon and hut 403.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Beach Hut 16

Amidst the showers of a distinctly changeable day, Karen Morton created an oasis of natural beauty in hut 410 tonight.
A Partridge in a Pear Tree may not immediately seem to have much of a connection with the Christmas story as told in the Bible but the tradition is that this song was developed during the reign of Oliver Cromwell by Roman Catholic parents as a way of teaching their children the basic tenets of Christian faith.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree is thought to represent Jesus because a mother partridge is said to prepared to sacrifice herself to protect her young.  Putting the partridge in a tree reminds us of Jesus death on the cross - the ultimate act of sacrifice.

We'll be hearing more about this particular song later in the Beach Hut Advent Calendar on the 21st of December.

Our next hut will be our most Easterly hut as it's number 11. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Beach Hut 15

Brightest and Best is not one of the most well known carols but is very appropriate for Advent as we remember Jesus coming as the light of the world.

Tonight hut 177 was full of interesting colours as various fluorescent stars were illuminated by an ultraviolet light.

This was enhanced by the provision of fluorescent make-up and glowsticks for any one who wanted to take part and a beautiful glowing white Christmas tree as the centrepiece to the hut.

For the next hut we head back west and go to number 410 beside Hove Lagoon.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Beach Hut 14

Earlier in the day today it seemed like it might not be a good idea to go to the beach as the weather forecasters weren't just predicting a rough day but were telilng us to stay away from the beach for our own safety.

Fortunately as the afternoon sun waned, so did the rain and wind and by the time we got to 5.30 the seafront was pretty calm and peaceful.

Tonight the focus was on poetry and Tamsin had produced an image of Good King Wenceslas following a series of poetry workshops on this theme.  

Poets were invited to take their place as Good King Wenceslas and recite their thoughts for us all to  hear.  We hope to be able to post some of these poems here soon.

Next time we'll be at hut number 177