News from over seas . . .
‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – everywhere you go!’ Yes, folks! Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the shopping centre. We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the car park until we see a shopper emerge from the shopping centre, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space.
But don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Christmas. I love everything about it. I love getting together with family, decorating the house like I’m hosting the Blackpool illuminations, giving and receiving Christmas cards, wrapping and unwrapping Christmas presents - the list is endless. One thing I especially love about Christmas, though, is brussels sprouts. Lovely green, round, soft sprouts in a big pile on my plate with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, Yummm!
Sprouts are a funny vegetable, because you either love them or hate them. For every person who loves them there’s probably ten others who think Ughhh! When I was little boy everybody had to have at least one brussels sprout with their Christmas dinner in our house. It was usually the last thing rolling around your plate or, if you were very clever, you would hide it under a bit of leftover mash. “You’ve got to eat your greens and you’ll grow up tall and strong and it’ll keep you regular!” my mum would say. Strong! Maybe? But tall? I’m not sure it worked mum! And regular – well, no comment!
Some things in life you either love or hate. I love Marmite but you may not. I love butter but you might love margarine. I love chocolate but I have a 5 year old who doesn’t (how weird is that!) We all have different tastes. Sometimes, Christmas can be like that too. I love getting last minute bargains but some people I know have already bought and wrapped all their Christmas presents by the end of June. I hate writing Christmas cards at the last minute but Catherine hates writing them to early. One Christmas we forgot to write Christmas cards so at the last minute we rushed round to the supermarket and bought the last two packs on the shelf. We quickly signed them and posted them three days before Christmas only to find out, after we posted them all, that the message inside the card said, “This is just to say a gift is on its way!”
However we celebrate Christmas, I hope we remember that Jesus came into the world, not to be an afterthought, like a brussels sprout that gets a look in only after we’ve enjoyed the turkey and potatoes on our Christmas dinner. Jesus came to give us hope in a hopeless and hurting world. The Bible says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Well, better go. I’ve got some last minute Christmas cards to write and 3kgs of sprouts to peel. It may be a windy Christmas at the Vicarage this year!!!
Catherine, Joshua, Amelia, Bethany and Madeline join me in wishing you
all our friends a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
With love, Kesh x
Off The Cutting Edge
By Pastor Robert Dunlop
LIGHT AT THE TURN OF THE YEAR
It is a happy arrangement that New Year comes immediately after Christmas.
Traditionally New Year is a time for making resolutions and looking for fresh beginnings. These aspirations are easier made in the light of the revelation disclosed at Bethlehem. Christ is the Light of the world, Christians are the light lighted.
Crossing into a fresh year with the assurance that Emmanuel (“God is with us”) is more than empty sentiment makes the transition more attractive. While it means serious business it does not have to be gloomy or desolate.
The renowned parliamentarian and social reformer, William Wilberforce was noted for his sense of inner joy. He worked for the abolition of the slave trade and eventually for the abolition of slavery.
The poet Robert Southey said “I never saw any other man enjoy such a perpetual serenity and sunshine of spirit. In conversing with him you feel assured that there is no guile in him, that if ever there was a good man and happy man on earth, he was one”.
In 1818 Dorothy Wordsworth, sister of the romantic poet, William, concurred..”Though shattered in constitution and feeble in body, he is a lively and animated man…his sense of humour and delight in all that was good was unmistakable”.
Although we may feel called to make more modest resolutions than Wilberforce, if we approach our tasks with his disposition then the future will be better than the past. Light will come not only at the turn of the year but illuminate every nook and cranny of our ongoing pilgrimage. This will enable us to journey in gladness and with an irrepressible hope.
Christmas Message from Leonard.My name is Rev. Leonard Ruddock and I am the Rector of St. John’s Church, Ballymore Eustace. I am delighted to have this opportunity to extend best wishes and Seasons Greetings to you all from everyone in St. John’s. As a parish we greatly appreciate the support and help that is so generously given to us by everyone in Ballymore Eustace.
When you pick up a Newspaper or listen to some T.V. programmes these days you could be forgiven for thinking that you had woken up in a different country, and that you now lived in a secular society, where matters of faith and trust in God were a thing of the past. It seems to me though, that now, more than ever, a faith and trust in God would be a help and comfort to people. We are about to enter the season of Advent when we prepare to welcome the Christ child. Lets try to focus on what is meaningful and lasting this Christmas, for our families, and our Community. Long ago the Prophet Isaiah said ‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness- on them light has shined.’ May the light and peace of the Christ child shine in all our hearts this Christmas.