Letter from the Minister.

Rev Phil Summers

Rev Phil Summers

and the life of the Christ Child becomes a glorious reality

I’m not sure what I can say about Christmas and Advent that hasn’t already been said. In fact I’m pretty certain that I can’t say anything that no one has thought of before. But how to stop it being mundane or repetitive? Advent is a time of waiting, a time of preparation…we can’t rush the work of God, prepare our hearts to make room for the Christ child. The sentiments are good but does familiarity breed, if not contempt, then indifference? Maybe the annual repetition of similar themes is in some way comforting. Like getting out the decorations that have been used for many years but the season wouldn’t be the same without them. Or hearing Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ - again!!!

Although I’ve nothing new to say, I’m also well aware that I haven’t fully plumbed the depths of what is usually said. Is a lifetime of church newsletters seriously going to grasp, in all its fullness, the wonder of the source of all being becoming fully human and living amongst us? How the very thought of God beats in the heart of a new-born child. But here we go again, carol like echoes of ancient truths: Hark! The herald angels sing, Mary and Joseph in stable bare, Magi, Christ adoring, What shall I bring him, poor as I am?

I cannot put into words what is going on in the events that we celebrate at this time of year. Jesus himself points the way for me. Change the way you think…. The kingdom of heaven is graspable…. believe the good news. God comes to earth in the form of the Christ child. This very child, grown to a man, tells us that the real presence of God is available to us all. And he lived a life that exampled that reality, a life of love, acceptance and hospitality. Have I said this before? Surely, I’ve written these words before. Maybe my whole life is a time of Advent? Waiting for it all to actually sink in, that I am loved, that I am not alone, that I am forgiven and free. That’s what all this Holy Habit talk is about. Being habitual in the rudiments of our faith so that at some point, at some quiet moment the penny drops, and the life of the Christ Child becomes a glorious reality, either for the first time, or in a new way, or in such a way that our lives change, once again, turning towards the kingdom and taking hold. Maybe that’s the second coming we’re waiting for? Not necessarily a thunder and lightning, holy pyrotechnic extravaganza, but a more solid returning to the truths Jesus shows us. Like a thief in the night. A return to a life of love, peace, joy and acceptance of others. The season is here for us for Christ to return again, and again, and again….

A happy, wondrous, enlightening Christmas to you all