Minister’s Letter – February 2018

Hi from Rev Richard,

Christmas is over! Or is it ? It’s never too late to talk about Christmas! Even if the decorations have been stored away for next Christmas, the house is cleaned, the credit card bills paid and phew it’s all done for another year !. Yes, I know it’s now February but there are still the lasting memories.
For many of us it was a time of celebration with Christmas Cards from friends both near and far, parties and dare I say it Carol Services. For others it has been a sad time of loneliness and bereavement. Now the rush and worry is over – do you stop and reflect on what it is all about ? During the quiet moments, perhaps after lunch, do you let your mind wander and wonder ?
Do you recall those Nativity Plays by the children (weren’t they moving – seeing those little ones dressed up and acting the dramatic story of Jesus’ birth ). Or the Christmas Cards with a Nativity Scene reminding us of “The reason for the season”
Do you remember the story of Mary being told by the angel she was to be a mother and Joseph again visited by an angel. The journey to Bethlehem and Jesus born (in a stable). The Shepherds visited by the angel and then rushing to see the Baby. . The final scene is usually the visit by the Magi (wise men ?) and the presentation of the gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.
How many times have we seen these events acted out, sung about and preached upon with various explanations of all that happened that wondrous night? (Although the Magi probably didn’t come till 2 years later !) So what helped you this Christmas to understand the events more clearly ?
Children find repetition very helpful in understanding and love hearing their favourite stories again and again. Is that true for many adults? Every year we hear/see the Christmas story again. Every year we spend time, money, and nervous energy, preparing for our celebrations. Choirs rehearse for hours, shops spend weeks getting their displays ready to tempt us to spend. We go to parties and have friends/relations to visit us.
I attended a my grandson’s school Carol Service in The Cathedral in mid December. What a wonderful ambience. !000? parents, friends and pupils preparing and looking forward to their Christmas celebrations..
The Bishop of Dover preached. What a privilege and challenge to say something about Christmas that was relevant to so many and such a wide range of ages. And he said the essence of the Christmas story was not the Birth in a stable, nor the shepherds nor the angels nor the Magi and the 3 gifts (important as they all are), but actually it was the message that is woven through the events of that wondrous night from God saying:

I pray our loving Heavenly Father will Bless you in this new year,