View from the Vicarage (December 2018)
As I write, Christmas lights are popping up all over the place; Christmas adverts have started to appear on our televisions; tinsel is adorning shop windows; the countdown to Christmas has begun! The star on All Saints’ church tower is ready to be lit up on Advent Sunday as a symbol of the church’s message of hope that Christmas brings to people around the world. It will stay lit throughout both Advent and Christmas, which officially ends with Candlemas on February 2nd.
Just as our star will light up the church tower, so our retelling of the events of that first Christmas- the birth of Christ, God in human form- will once again remind us of the light and hope that Jesus’ birth brought to our dark world; light and hope that is still as pertinent today as it was all those years ago. I love the twinkling lights that reflect the true meaning of Christmas, even though their manufacturers are no doubt oblivious to this fact!
We are holding many special Christmas celebrations and events in our parish over the next few weeks. Do come and join in. Your churches are here for you! The Living Nativity held in All Saints will once again feature the audience as the crowd, first in Nazareth, then in Bethlehem, with a stable filled with a sheep, pony, chickens and of course ‘baby J’. We shall be singing carols around the villages, enjoying our formal carol services led by the choir, and putting our crib scenes together ahead of our Midnight Mass celebrations and Christmas morning Toy Services. Details and times are on this website.
In these times of political and economic uncertainty we would be wise to remember that times have been hard for different generations over the ages. Jesus was born into our chaotic world, in a stable amidst all the grime. He was born into a world full of need, to bring light in our darkness, hope in our pain, to share God’s love, and encourage us to trust God to help us make the world as He intended it to be- a world of justice, mercy and peace, underpinned by love. That’s what Christmas is really all about- loving and caring for those around us, supporting one another through good times and bad.
I wish you a blessed and peaceful Christmas, and I look forward to sharing with you in our many Christmas celebrations!