December 2019 Benefice Letter

O Star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy Perfect Light

God of hope be with us in our Advent journey to the stable and beyond,
be with us in our meeting and in our travelling together,
be with us in our worship and our praying together,
be with us in our Advent journey to the stable and beyond,
our God of hope.

Dear Friends,

As the nights draw in and the darkness comes to surrounds us, we enter a time of preparation. Advent beckons and our sense of anticipation grows as we look for the Star that will lead us to the lowly stable, to the baby wrapped in simple cloth. This is a time to travel together as a family or a community for the hope of the baby is for all peoples, all places and all time. ‘Secular Christmas’ began in October! Ridiculously early! Yet the shelves of Christmas paraphernalia challenge us to rise above the chocolate box images and television froth to travel and live in these four weeks in a different, deeper way; our eyes looking beyond the immediate and superficial. For the eternal babe comes.

God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth
has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh.
Make us a people of this light.
Make us faithful to your Word that we may bring your life to the waiting world.

The Christmas babe is the light which shatters the darkness and defeats our fears, freely gifting to all new beams of hope and love to live by. The Christmas Season offers both time and space to reflect on the power and the majesty of this baby, this king, born not in a palace but in a simple stable, not with servants but obedient followers. In Advent we prepare; on Christmas Day we receive that life changing gift.

God of all time, we praise and adore you for breaking into the darkness of this world with the glorious light of your presence. A light which made your love for the world visible in the babe born in Bethlehem—a light which guided those gift-bearing travellers from afar to find and worship the Christ-child. A light which leads us to you, now revealed in Jesus Christ, revealed to the world.

Epiphany, the core of Christmas Season, celebrates the coming of the Gentile ‘wise men’ bringing gifts to the Christ child, a journey and meeting revealing the power of God breaking into the darkness of the world. We acknowledge Jesus as Lord. Lord not for a few, special ones for Jesus came for all people, all nations, all races. This is the revelation of God in the world – the God for all.

In your preparations to receive the Light of Christ, I pray that you, your family and friends will travel well, that the Star of Bethlehem will lead and guide you to the Stable where you will come to know the revealed love of God who is the perfect gift.

Debbie and I wish everyone a very happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.