Pastoral Letter (December 2018/ January 2019)

from Revd Catherine Bowstead

Dear Friends,

Are you waiting for Christmas?  Christmas adverts have been on the television screens for several weeks and mince pies have been on sale for months.  The world around us shows no sign of wanting to wait for Christmas, it wants it now!  But waiting is an essential part of our preparation for Christmas.

Some 750 years before Christ's birth, Isaiah prophesied: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel".  The events we remember each Christmas did not come about by chance.  For centuries God's people waited for Messiah to come, in hope and with expectation they waited faithfully.

It is this time of waiting that is celebrated in the season of Advent.  From the beginning of December, we are encouraged to hold off rushing into all the festivities and to reflect on what it means to wait.  Our Bible readings each Sunday remind us of people who waited for Jesus and prepared the way for him to come into the world.  As we think about these stories, we can use the time to prepare our hearts and minds to welcome the Christ child anew.  We remember that Jesus Christ came into the world so that all people can know him for themselves.

Of course, there are practical preparations to be made for the celebrations at church and at home, but don't be fooled by the media's attempts to get you to buy more than you need and as early as possible in order to have a "perfect" Christmas.  Take time to wait and think, to reflect and pray, and seek a stillness within your own heart each day through Advent, so that on Christmas Day you can welcome Christ into your heart anew and celebrate the wonder of God incarnate, born as one of us so that we can know God.

May you know the peace of the Christ child this Christmas.

With every blessing

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