Rector's Letter - December 2015

Dear Friends,

Becoming a grandparent this year has put a whole new perspective on Christmas. Christmas is all about gifts, gifts given in love. Central to Christmas is the gift of a very special baby. But, of course, every baby is a special, unique gift... a miracle to its family. I am surprised at the intense feelings of love and joy that little person brings. As we sit down to our Christmas dinner, sitting around the same old table which once belonged to my grandparents, just as I did as a child, and then later with my own children, and now with the next generation, I am reminded that the wonderful gift of a new life comes in the context of a family. Christmas should be a celebration of family too. There is a lot more to Christmas than the TV adverts would have us believe!

Actually, Christmas is about something far bigger than many people imagine. It is a celebration of the gift of life and love, from the God Who is Life and Love. Whether we believe that or not, that is what it is about! It is a time for families celebrating their life and love together, and is widely enjoyed by people regardless of what they believe. That is a wonderful gift in itself. But we can miss the bigger picture, which is even more wonderful still! It is all about family life, but in a far bigger sense than we imagine too!

The Bible tells us that: "To those who believe in His (Jesus') Name, He gives the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)

God's purpose behind that special birth at Christmas is to draw every living human being into His family. God's family transcends time and space and race and every other thing that divides people or spoils life. God's Family is a great family from which no one need be left out or excluded. Here, I believe, is the answer to ALL mankind's problems; here is real Hope for the future. As the carol says: "The hope and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight." The Gift of Christmas is THAT big!

But the first Christmas was far from a family celebration. It could hardly have been more different. Joseph and Mary were far from home and all alone. They were pushed out into the back stable. They were isolated, cold and unnoticed, except by a group of fellow outcast, some shepherds and some strangers from a faraway land. They were soon to flee for their lives as refugees from the murderous Herod. This is not at all what you would expect! Why?

Could it be that God identifies with the lonely, the refugees, the homeless, the outcasts, the bereaved, the sick... in fact everyone who is not able to enjoy His gift of life and love as they should, to draw every precious individual into His gift of Life in His "forever Family".

With my very best wishes for a wonderful Christmas, and a happy New Year.

Yours, in Christ,

Verse for the Month

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1:14

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