LETTER FROM THE RECTORY
Advent is upon us again and the shops are full of Christmas decorations and gift suggestions. My own Christmas planning begins with a list of all the Christmas services and events in our three parishes and beyond, which I shall enjoy attending or leading. I am up to 27 at the moment! That is not a complaint, as I love Christmas and everything to do with it! It is the happiest time of year for many of us, if we are blessed with good friends or families, and especially if we truly celebrate the gift to the world of Jesus, the Son of God.
We all know that Christmas can be a difficult time for those who are bereaved or who have no close relatives or friends, with whom to share the season. I know that many of you will open your homes to those who live alone and I am sure you will be richly blessed for doing so. We shall be praying especially for everyone who struggles at this time of year.
During December, Christians take time to prepare themselves and their families for the celebration of one of the three most important festivals (the others being Easter and Pentecost). The danger of rushing into Christmas without observing Advent is that, when it is over, we may feel we have missed its real meaning (rather like rushing to build a house, without putting in good foundations).
I hope you will be able to find time during December to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas – the revolutionary, world-changing fact that God chose to become human, in order to show his love for us and teach us how to live as his chosen people. As we look again at the main players in the story - Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, magi and the baby Jesus – we see how God works through a wide variety of inadequate humans, to bring about his divine purposes. We have the right to choose whether to let him into our lives or, like the innkeeper, say, ‘No room!’. Advent is a good time to think about this, ahead of any New Year resolutions we may wish to consider.
I look forward to seeing you at our Advent and Christmas services, when we will share the joy of this season and learn more about our own role in God’s great story. Children will be able to meet a new and very large friend called Roly, who will be at some services and events from mid-December. Don’t miss the fun or the opportunity to experience God’s unconditional love for you!
I wish you a very happy Advent and a joyful Christmas tide. Anne