Rector’s Letter

Rector’s Letter

I write this letter as we finish final preparations for our Christmas services but still a little unsure if guidelines will change meaning we have to cancel some of our Christmas services. Our family, like many families, are unsure if Christmas plans are going to be curbed because of Covid and whether we’ll be able to meet at all to celebrate. Family and friends grieving the loss of loved ones in restricted ways are feeling far from celebrating at the moment. This all feels very familiar to us, an unwanted ‘Christmas repeat’ seems to be looming with talk in the press of Christmas being cancelled again this year.

At one level, like many others, I’m feeling very weary of all of this and upset at the prospect of Christmas being cancelled. At another level though, I know that Christmas, true Christmas, can never be cancelled: not by Boris Johnson, not by covid, not by any future variant of the virus that may come along. True Christmas – our celebration of the Incarnation: God coming into the world in the Christ child can never be cancelled. There’s a lovely conclusion to the poem ‘We’re not having Christmas this year’ that ends, having considered a range of difficulties the reader may be facing:

‘Once you’ve had Christmas, it cannot depart;
when you learn that true Christmas, is Christ in your heart!’

For Christians these days of January are kept as the season of ‘Epiphany’ – a time to consider what Christmas and the Incarnation means: what difference God coming into the world for us actually means to us! God became flesh and lived among us – the central tenet of the Christian faith is this good news that God loves us so much he comes into the world for us as Christ. He comes to a part of the world beset by challenging and difficult situations, not
into a shiny palace but into a dark and messy stable, not as a king in a conventional sense
but as a lowly baby in an ordinary family, in a low-key corner of the world. He comes, in
love, to that one time and place for all times and all places. He comes into that world in
love for all of us.

Knowing that we are loved by God, knowing that the child in the manger represents the nature of God’s love for each and every one of us is at the heart of the Christian story. If we catch a sense of that love; if we experience just a glimmer of that love; I wonder, does that make a difference to our lives? Can that shape how we live out our lives, whatever the challenges that may face us in the year ahead?

My encouragement to us at the beginning of this New Year is that we begin this year in the knowledge that we are loved deeply by the God who came into the world as Christ for us. As we embark on this new year in that certainty, I pray this can be a hope-filled, joy-filled and peace-filled year for our lives, in our families, in our communities and in our nation.

With my prayers and very good wishes.

Rector John