LETTER FROM THE VICAR
Advent has almost arrived and our time of preparation for the Christmas Feast, at the end of December. The Church of St Mary will be full of Christmas Trees from the start of Advent. I have already told the story of Christmas and the birth of baby Jesus in two Reception classes, because they have already been rehearsing Nativity plays. By the second week of December, or so, the Christmas story will have been told many times across the parish and in St Mary's Church, at the various school carol services. It isn't the date of Christmas that matters, but that God came among us as a human being to show us, spiritually and physically, how much he loves us. God has demonstrated, as a human being, how he wants us to care and serve other people, especially the poor and lonely.
In school we told the story of St Martin who cut his own cloak in half and gave a piece to the poor man who was freezing at the side of the road, begging for help. In a vision later that night, Martin sees that it was actually Jesus Christ whom he had helped. If we treat everybody that we meet with the same respect, reverence and kindness that Martin treated the poor man with, then the Kingdom of God will be seen beginning all around us. Baby Jesus is shown love and kindness in a human family and he shows that kindness in his life, as we read in the gospel stories. It is that love and kindness that we are to show in our own lives as we honour Jesus as our Saviour and our King.
This isn't something confined to only one date in the year. There is no clear understanding of when Jesus was born so there is a sense in which every day is Christmas day; that would be pretty expensive in terms of presents! But if we can't give expensive gifts every day then we can give the gifts of kindness and love, because they don't cost us any money, only the sacrifice of a humble spirit.
I look forward to seeing many of you at our Christmas and Advent services and I pray that the Christ-child may be born in all of our hearts this Christmas time and every day.