A message from Revd. Lee

 Dear Friends,

I am halfway through NOvember as I sit to write this month’s letter. It has, so far, been a very long month.  I am pleased to report that the waistline is shrinking, and balance has been restored. I can hardly wait for the end of the month! There is a fear of course, that January will demand another time of abstinence following the abundance of December. I must be mindful of the balance achieved as I move into next month, or as you read this, right now. 

December marks a New Year in the Life of the Church or as we call it, Advent. Happy New Year!

Like my desire to hurry through November so I can eat cake once more, we can also be tempted to rush through December to get to Christmas and its trappings. When we do this, we miss the journey and rich experience of Advent. As mentioned towards the end of my last letter, Advent is a time of expectant waiting, perhaps, as a mother to be. Now I need to tread lightly here. I have little experience with being a mother and what experience I do have was many years ago and was more akin with being a father! I do remember though getting the nursery ready. I also remember the nervous feeling as a father that I was just not prepared to welcome this tiny baby that I would be responsible for into the world. As it turns out, my fears were well founded. I was not ready at all. Not even close! However, with support from friends and family and by God’s good grace, all was well. Mostly.

How are we preparing for the baby that is to enter our lives a-fresh and a-new this year?

Are we ready, again, for the coming of Christ? I would suggest that we are not. Even as well practised as we are at this whole Advent and Christmas thing. To be truly ready to welcome in Christ is one thing, yet to be truly ready to be responsible for the consequences of this child and what He brings into the world; well, who can be truly ready for that?

Mary was not ready, Joseph was not ready, in fact the whole world was not ready and is still not ready. Or else we would be looking at His Second Coming! That gives us a clue as to how we might respond to all this unpreparedness: in faith. Mary said yes in faith, Joseph said yes in faith, and we say yes in faith.

The faith that God walks with us as we navigate our own life journey and faith that at the intersections of our paths, where my journey meets yours, grace, love, and peace may flourish. This is the reason Jesus entered the world. Jesus came to show us all another way, yet looking at the world in which we live, we are still not ready. The Good News is that God as revealed in Christ, gives us time to become ready, we don’t know how much time, yet my heart tells me that our loving Father will give us all the time we need to find our way back to Himself. Let us not however miss the joy and experience of that journey. Let’s not hurry to get to the destination, whether cake is present or not!

Advent is a time where, contra to the values of the world, we can take time to slow a little, to let in the Christmas story and its beginning from Advent Sunday through to the Epiphany and beyond. To help bring us to a closer, deeper relationship with God. Just as Lent might help us journey meaningfully to Easter, allow Advent to bring you more softly to Christmas this year.

My thanks to those of you who are taking part in this year’s ‘Advent Windows’. Special thanks to Emma Tucker and Donna Nicholls who work so hard in putting this together for us all. This year this will take place in both Creech and Ruishton. This is an outward show of just how important the journey to Christmas is. There is much to look forward to this year, and I pray that the services over the Christmas season, as advertised, can go ahead safely, please join me in this prayer.

We hope to have a choir at Holy Cross for our Nine Lessons and Carols this year, thank you to all who are volunteering to be part of that choir and to Pat for leading us all as both Organist and Choir Leader. Do let us know if you would like to be part of the Choir this year!

I am aware that it has been customary for a Christmas card to be sent out from our Churches wishing you all a Merry Christmas. I would like for us this year to ‘save a tree’ and some expense, by instead sharing a Christmas wish to each other by sharing a joint Benefice Christmas card. I will make this available at the back of our Churches for each of us to sign and read Christmas greetings from each other. The hope is this collective Christmas card will go just a little way in reducing the tons of paper and card that is consumed over the festive period. I do hope you agree. This leads me neatly to wishing you all on behalf of Donna-Marie and myself, a very Merry Christmas and a Christ-filled New Year. And, of course, a very pleasant, meaningful, and wonderful journey until we get there.

Lee