Dear Friends and Parishioners,
By the time you read this edition of our parish magazine, Advent will have begun and Christmas will be rapidly approaching. This year the Church of England seasonal theme is ‘Comfort and Joy’, much needed after the circumstances of the past months.
Comfort and joy are two important aspects of our Christian faith. Throughout the psalms, God comforts the faithful in times of distress (Ps 46:1-2). Jesus urged the crowds that gathered round to cast their cares upon him and they would find rest (Matthew 11:28). St Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth of God’s comfort and compassion. (2 Cor 1:3-4) Joy is an accompanying quality of the Christian life. The prophet Nehemiah speaks of it as a strength (Neh 8:10). St Paul says joy is one of the gifts of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). Shortly we will be singing ‘Joy to the world’ at our carol services pointing to the birth of Jesus as saviour.
Comfort and joy have been chosen as Advent and Christmas themes this year to hold together the hope that this season brings through the Incarnation. Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem is a sign that the world has not been abandoned. The God who loved us into creation sent His Son to save us from total separation from God through sin. Our salvation will be complete when Jesus returns, signalling the full and permanent reign of God on earth as well as in heaven.
2020 has been such a strange and difficult year that many people will find it hard to celebrate Christmas as fully as in the past. Even here in our island, families face separation from loved ones, possible economic hardship and the anxiety that the virus will spread again.
Besides our Christmas services (details in this magazine and on our website and Facebook page) you can receive Bible passages, prayers and reflections by visiting the Church of England website (www.churchofengland.org). There are many resources to download, an app for your mobile phone or you can get a printed booklet from me.
As we look ahead with faith, hope, comfort and joy I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
Love and blessings,