Ministry Team Letter for the Month
Hope in uncertain times
As I write this, details of the easing of Covid restrictions for Christmas have just been released, and people around the country are working out who they can 'bubble' with and how they can see loved ones this Christmas. This comes in the context of recent good news about promising vaccines, but also the sobering reality that despite the lockdown, the virus is still very much present in communities across the country, and the risk involved in meeting others indoors during the cold winter months remains high.
Recent headlines in the media have told us that ‘Christmas is cancelled’ due to the pandemic, we see the NHS under great pressure and unemployment continuing to rise. People long for some good news, and the easing of rules to allow festive family gatherings are seen by some as the government's attempt to ‘save Christmas’.
We have not known a time of such uncertainty and upheaval for generations. Normal concerns about finding the right present for Auntie Mabel or ordering the turkey in good time are dwarfed by fears about our relatives, our health, and our jobs. In the midst of this, where do we find hope?
In the Christian faith, Advent is a time of waiting, hoping and longing. This year, in our waiting there’s an invitation to bring our fears and anxieties to God. To be reminded of his faithfulness, to find hope in him, perhaps to hear familiar words with a new resonance:
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6)
Jesus himself was born into a time of uncertainty and upheaval. Away from home without the support of friends and relatives, his parents fled the country fearing for the life of their newborn son. And yet, in our present time of darkness, his light still shines.
Christmas cannot be cancelled, and Christmas does not need to be saved. Two thousand years ago, God sent his Son into a dark and troubled world to save us. Today, our dark and troubled world needs Jesus more than ever. Our Christmas celebrations may look rather different this year, but Jesus, Emmanuel, is still with us. In the parish, join us for our services, in person or online, as we celebrate our Saviour’s birth.
In the midst of all the uncertainty, may you find hope in Jesus this Advent and Christmas time.
Every blessing, Stuart Cocksedge
During the Covid-19 pandemic our services and activities have had to be curtailed. We hope that this difficult time will soon pass but, in the meantime, please refer any questions to the Parish Office.