A Very Happy Christmas and Every Blessing for the New Year!
Writing this in early November, it’s hard to believe Christmas is so close! It’s a time of year that brings lots of mixed feelings. Some say, “It’s really for the children” – and indeed it is a wonderful time fro children … Father Christmas, presents, parties and time to enjoy the family being together. The church enjoys celebrating with children too – Sunday School is building its own Nativity Scene and members will be rehearsing a play for the Candle Service on Christmas Eve at Little Bytham. There will also be the lovely Christingle Service at Castle Bytham on the 11th and the special Family Communion Service at Castle Bytham on Christmas Morning when we hope children will bring along some presents to show everyone. (Sunday School will not be meeting on the third Sunday of the month, as it’s usually does, because of needing to make time for rehearsals, but we will be back to normal in January)
It isn’t just for children, of course. Most grown-ups love it too, but some find Christmas difficult – the expense, the energy expended in shopping and cooking, the pressure we feel to be ‘merry’, when perhaps we are feeling the loss of departed loved ones most of all. The Carol Service (at Little Bytham this year) and Midnight Mass at Creeton provide times to stop and reflect in the midst of the preparations, and to think what it’s really all about.
When I worked in inner city Manchester, many years ago, now, I used to almost despair when I discovered single mums leaving their children at home alone all night while they went out to work on chat-lines to earn money for the elaborate presents that their children demanded and might well have broken by Boxing Day.
What must Jesus feel about some of the ways in which we choose to celebrate his birthday? I think he would not want us to worry about money, or to waste it. He would not want us to be stressed and frantic. Neither would he want us to over-eat and over-drink and make ourselves ill while others starve. Christ-mas is about celebrating the fact the God’s son Jesus Christ, came to share our human life, our sorrows as well as our joys. The festival reminds us that he is close to the grieving, to the hungry, the homeless and he is there for us when we need him, understanding what it is to be human.
A good way to celebrate his Birthday is to give to those really in need at this time – Crisis at Christmas, Christian Aid and many other charities will help us do this. Instead of trying to find something for the “man or woman who has everything” why not give something to the person who has nothing? Then you will have given Jesus the kind of Birthday he likes best … and you could come to Church and wish him a happy day too! Looking forward to seeing you.
With love and prayers,
The Rev’d Sue Evans
15 Hill View Road
Tel: 01572 767240
Mobile: 07879 446831
Added : 11/12/11 : MG