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Christmas 2020 Newsletter

21 December 2020

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A Christmas Letter from our Priest-in-Charge, Chris

As we gather in
worship once more
this Christmas I am
reminded of two
things, how different
things will be this
year and at the same time how familiar and
usual. For many the continued restrictions will
mean that Christmas may feel very different
but different need not be negative. Sometimes
different can help us see something so familiar
with greater insight. It can help us appreciate
more deeply the little blessings we take for
granted, food to put on the table and the
greetings of loved ones. Christmas can never
be cancelled no matter how loudly the media
shout it!
The first Christmas was in many ways a simple
event. The birth of an innocent baby is a small
town on the other side of the world to an
unassuming couple in a borrowed shelter. The
challenges were very real in a poverty torn
country with cruel and unforgiving occupiers.
The joy of looking into this child’s eyes was
tinged with the spectre of the cruelty of the
world into which he was born. But love speaks
of a hope which casts out fear and allows
anxious parents to begin to imagine a future for
this child of love.
As we look towards a new year with the hope
that a vaccine will allow us to find a fuller way
of life let us hold onto the light of Christ, born in
simplicity but full of potentiality in which our
world could be a very different Kingdom to the
one he was born into. That too can be our
longing, as we step into 2021. The possibility
of a world with the potential for greater love,
deeper justice, extravagant forgiveness and
endless mercy. These are our deepest
longings which for Christians find their voice
and shape in Jesus, who teaches us that each
of these only stop being longings to become
reality when we each have the courage to live
them in our own lives. So I wish you a very
happy Christmas, allow the difference to lead
you back to the simplicity of the manger and
look to the future with the expectation of a
world once again reborn.
With my love, Chris.

You are born in such simplicity
without ceremony or security
In the shadow of the suffering
and the fragrance of deep poverty
Wisdom wrapped exquisitely
In the vesture of humanity
Where the cries born out of hunger
and infant vulnerability
now speak of true divinity
and worldly logic fails
to understand the import
of an act so revelatory
the mind must now accept
our only true response is love.    

Tails from the Rectory
Basil is a four old crossbreed and
Archie a three year old black lab.
They both have wet cold noses,
bright excited eyes and the
waggiest tails you ever saw!
The boys were loving Christmas, it
was full of colour and light. They
had helped with the Christmas tree
(hmmm) and sniffed each
decoration to give it their seal of
approval before Chris was allowed
to hang it on the tree. There were presents too,
a whole variety of toys and dog treats that
lasted nearly a whole hour! They had a special
lunch on Christmas Day with some delicious
meat and lots of vegetables which they had
really enjoyed, in fact Archie had licked his
food bowl for so long after he had finished that
Chris said he thought the pottery was thinner!
By afternoon there was quite a bit of snoozing
going on and Basil and Archie were stretched
out where they could feel the warmth of the
fire. Basil was just dreaming about chasing a
gravy covered sprout around the castle, and
just as he was about to catch it….Archie
nuzzled him awake! Basil opened only one
eye, as chasing the sprout in his dream had
quite exhausted him. “ tell me about Christmas
again” asked Archie. He was going to ask
Chris but Chris and Jochen were busy talking
to family on the zoom.
The good food has mellowed Basil’s mood so
after a moment he said, “Christmas is when we
remember the time when God sent his greatest
gift to the world. The gift was something that
was very precious to God, but he wanted us to
have it too. The trouble was it was difficult to
send, as he wasn’t sure how to wrap it. God
had tried sending it with other people
throughout the years but somehow it never
quite arrived as it hoped. This time he would
deliver it himself. The challenge was the gift
God wanted to send was love, and love is not
meant to be hidden in boxes covered with
bows that sit under a tree to be brought out
once a year! God would have to do it
differently. So he he found all his most
precious wrappings, the ones he only ever
used for very special things to wrap the love
inside. The result was just exquisite, an
innocent baby with wonder filled eyes to look at
the world, ears to hear where love might be
needed, feet and legs to carry it, and arms and
hands to open wide to deliver it. God looked
and the result was very good.
But all love needs to time grow, just like a
delicate flower needs tending in order to bloom
beautifully. So God sent his gift with his most
trusted messenger called Gabriel. When the
time was just right Gabriel delivered the gift.
Gabriel delivered it just as God had directed to
a small town called Bethlehem, to a mother
called Mary, who God knew would love the
baby and keep the baby safe and remind the
child constantly of the love it was born to show.
The mother followed the angels words and
called the little baby Jesus. Gabriel was so
delighted by the gift that he called his whole
family to sing their joy from the high places,
where the song could be carried on the wind
and would be heard by shepherds in the fields
and wise men far away. Their song would set
peoples’ hearts alight with hope. But for now
the baby slept soundly in his mother arms as
Joseph stood watchfully by in this tiny stable
where they had found shelter from the
kindness of a stranger. Soon enough it would
be time to travel on into the world but for now
they could simply rest and rejoice!”
Archie’s eyes were wide as he listened and
when Basil stopped talking Archie had begged
him to continue but Basil had smiled at Archie
and said, “let’s leave the story there for now
there is a lot more to tell but not today”.
Stories made Archie snoozy so even before
Basil had finished speaking his eyes were
closed and he was dreaming of running
through woods made of dog biscuits (he is a
Labrador after all). Basil smiled a happy smile,
though Archie could sometimes be annoying,
Basil wouldn’t have him any other way, not that
he would ever admit it. Soon his eye was
closed and he too was dreaming, he dreamt of
Angels and shepherds, but try as he might he
could not find that gravy covered sprout
Happy Christmas from two tails