From the Vicarage
Being a Christian is never
easy. We may face ridicule, persecution,
or apathy; we may be completely ignored or take second place to various forms
of “entertainment”, shopping, or other perceived priorities. This time of year can be especially
difficult; we have the perennial debate about whether Halloween is a bad thing
or a harmless bit of fun. People appear
to celebrate a terrorist attempt to blow up parliament by having firework parties
but are they really, or is it just another bit of fun? We have a very important and serious truth
that we need the world to hear, but we need to be careful that the importance
and seriousness doesn’t make us seem so miserable and out of touch that we cannot
communicate with anyone.
Jesus Christ spent time with
lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, and other sinful and undesirable people of
his day. He didn’t become one of them, nor did he act in a condescending,
superior, way but he built a relationship with them. Why?
Well because he loved/loves them and everyone else equally, that’s why,
and we are called to do exactly the same.
We are all sinners and far from perfect so, before we get on our high
horses about the conduct and attitudes of others, we should remind ourselves
that our role is to love the world, not to judge it.
As Christmas approaches, then, we
should refrain from being sniffy about peoples’ attitude to the season. Yes, we see people getting really excited
about parties and having fun but is that a bad thing? Doesn’t God want us to be
happy and help make others happy? Is it wrong
for hard-working people to want some time off and the opportunity to spend time
with those they love? We can criticise
people for focusing on what they are going to get but, children apart, is that
true of most people? What I see is lots
of people running around trying to get things that will please others.
Yes, it would be fantastic if
everyone remembered that all good things come from God and felt as keen about
saying thank you to him as they are to others about the gifts they receive. Our churches offer plenty of opportunity for
people to do that, as can be seen on the publicity we have produced but let’s
not condemn them if they don’t: rather let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will
open their hearts and minds to the truth and the wonderful gift they are
missing. Christmas is meant to be a time
of love, peace, and joy for all and we, as Christians should be doing all we
can to bring that about, not just for ourselves or our circle of friends, like-minded
people, or those we think “have got it right” but for everyone. It will cost us nothing; but bring us so
much. So perhaps, instead of focusing
what we perceive to be the negative aspect of how others celebrate this feast,
we could turn our attention to the people in hostels who rely on our toy
services for Christmas presents, the neighbour who lives on their own and has
no visitors, the home carer who would love just half an hour’s respite. Look around and I’m sure you’ll find
somewhere on which the love of God can shine.
I hope that you, those you love,
and those you share this season with will all have a happy, holy, and blessed
Christmas. God bless you and thank you
for all you do and all you are.
Mission & Outreach
I just wanted to let you know
about three initiatives that we are looking at in the New Year:
Support for people who are bereaved. We are working with Trinity Hospice to set up
something called Stepping Stones. We
don’t want counsellors or advice-givers, we want listeners who could spare just two hours every month or
Lyrics & Lunch. This will be aimed at those with Dementia and
their carers. Again, the commitment is
likely to be a couple of hours once every month or two.
Youth (People aged eleven and over). We are going to be working with the Diocesan
Youth Officer to look at the adequacy, quality, and frequency of what we
provide and consider what we could do to improve things. Before I bring him over to start work with
us, I need a team of people who can share the workload, again a couple of hours
If you would be willing to help
with any of these projects, please get in touch. 01253 799895 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.