December 2013 - January 2014

From the Rectory

This two month edition of the Parish Magazine covers the period from Advent Sunday almost to Candlemas (2nd February). I’m writing this article in the middle of November and yet the talk I hear all around me is concerned with ‘Christmas’. The team of people who select the hymns for our worship have already dealt with Advent, Christmas and beyond. Some people can’t wait for Christmas actually to arrive at the end of December. Incredibly on 3rd. November to my surprise, I noticed a house in a local street displaying a Christmas tree in its window!

Advent is about Christians preparing. The Lectionary contains the passages about John the Baptist preparing the way, ‘Make way’ it announces. It doesn’t mean, put up a Christmas tree, it’s about making way for the arrival of Jesus in human form. It all makes sense to Christians, but the majority are not Christian, so why wait, why not prepare by putting up a Christmas tree at the beginning of November and as some do, leave them up all year. I also have a friend who works in retail and he tells me that the Easter eggs are already in the warehouse. The world has gone mad, so busy rushing forward it has no time to appreciate and savour the present moment. Advent is a wonderful time, so full of anticipation.

During Advent there are many extra Services in Church. Freemantle Academy will come and hold their annual Nativity Play which, including rehearsals, takes up most of the week, and again this year for the older children, they are holding a Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. Paint Pots Nursery will be coming for a Nativity play and carols. We will be having a Children’s Christmas workshop making Christingles for the following evening when we will light the church by orange-scented candlelight. All of this as well as our own usual and well-loved Advent and Christmas Services which are all listed later in this magazine. So we Christians here at Christ Church have every opportunity to prepare ourselves before the BIG event: the arrival of the babe of Bethlehem, Emmanuel. We will be well and truly prepared to welcome God with us.

Then before we have had time to realise the full impact of that amazing event in history we will be catapulted forward into the New Year. 2014 will be for this Parish both challenging and I’m sure quite wonderful. You will all need to keep your nerve, be prepared for change, which is inevitable, and be supportive of one another. The Wardens and members of the PCC will need your help, prayers and encouragement especially as they set about the process of finding a suitable cleric to lead you forward in faith and discipleship.

Interregnums are obviously difficult. But your wardens and PCC members are good people and good Christians, they will see it through to completion. There are also amongst you several people who have offered to help with the various Services and occasional offices, so hopefully it will all go smoothly. Put your trust in them and in the Lord and may the peace of Christ dwell in you richly. The following few verses seem particularly apt this year for all of us.

I said to the man who stood
at the gate of the year.
Give me a light that I may tread
safely into the unknown.
And he replied,
Go out into the darkness and put
your hand into the hand of God.
That will be to you better
than a light.
And safer than a known way.

Yours for Christ's sake.