“Who is he in yonder stall, at whose feet the shepherds fall?”
We are now approaching one of the two most important festivals in the church’s year. (the other one is Easter). Christmas is a time of celebration, of families getting together, of giving and receiving presents. I trust that all of you are looking forward to the festivities, but hope that in the midst of all the fun you save some time to think about the reason for all this jollity.
We are celebrating the momentous occasion when God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, was born in a stable. He came on earth with a message of peace and love.When you read this, we will be into Advent – the time of preparation leading up to Christmas. It is a time to reflect, to decide whether we are in a fit state to welcome the arrival of that very special baby, and if not, to do something about it!
On Sunday at 6pm we are holding a service of Compline, followed by Benediction. This is a quiet, end of the day short service, followed by a blessing that will be taking place on the first Sunday of each month. Please come along.
We must remember however that for so many people Christmas is most definitely not a happy event – those who have lost family members and are living on their own, those living in abusive situations, those who are forced to live on the streets. Let us remember all of these in our prayers and if we can, try to bring a measure of Christmas cheer into their lives.
As we move into November our lives are dominated by the days getting shorter and the nights longer. Winter coats, scarves and gloves are brought out of the wardrobe, but it isn’t a month of all doom and gloom, just rather chilly.
We start with All Saints Day on 1st November.
Who are the Saints? They are everyone who has found their resting place in heaven.
Certain ones from among their number are given the title Saint because it is felt that there is something about them, some aspect of their life on earth that set us an example to follow. However these are the exceptional ones; on 1st November we celebrate all those others, the ordinary folk, including deceased members of our own families, who have joined the heavenly family.
On the 2nd the Feast of All Souls we pray for all those whom we have loved and who have passed away; that their souls may find rest in heaven.
Sunday 10th is Remembrance Sunday, when we bring to mind all those who have given their lives in war to preserve our freedom.
A Saint that we remember particularly, on the 17th November is our patron St Hilda. Her contribution to the Church in this country was huge; she presided over the Meeting (the Synod) in Whitby in 664 that united the Roman and Celtic churches into one body. Please come and join us in our celebrations on that day.
November brings the church’s year to a close with the Feast of Christ the King on 24th as we then embark on the following Sunday into a new year with the beginning of Advent.