Rector's December 2013 Letter

Getting Ready for Christmas.

 

First of all – an advance notice that we are planning to have a follow-up meeting for the very inspiring meeting with Anna Norman Walker back in September, where we can share thoughts and ideas and come up with some concrete plans to carry forward. I know various ideas are bubbling in the various churches, and this will be a time to bring them all together. We are going for Wednesday January 15th, and meeting at Woodbury Salterton Village Hall at 7pm. Do come and join us, whether or not you were able to attend the previous meeting. It is an appropriate time to be thinking about looking at ourselves and our churches.

 

Each of the great Christian celebrations – Christmas and Easter – is preceded by a season of preparation; Lent before Easter and Advent before Christmas. Most of us have grown up with at least a vague knowledge of what we are supposed to do in Lent – we all know we are supposed to ‘give up something’ at least – but how many of us know what we are traditionally supposed to do for Advent? (Hint: it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with opening little cardboard doors with chocolates behind them! Or at least not obviously.) No, what we are traditionally called to do is to reflect on the ‘Four Last Things’ – Heaven, Hell, Death and Judgement

 

Now, that doesn’t sound like a particularly cheery way to prepare for the joy of Christmas, though some might consider that it beats Christmas shopping. (You can see why the chocolate thing has caught on instead!) But allowing for the medieval mindset, what it is really asking us to do is to look at our lives from a different perspective; from the standpoint of Eternity.

 

Suppose those little windows on an Advent Calendar opened not onto a chocolate or a Christmas picture but to tiny glimpses of our lives in the years to come – suppose we could somehow step into the scene and look back

through the window to the present day – what a difference that would make! Even in five or ten years, looking back, it would be so much easier to tell the difference between the things that really matter and the things that only seemed important at the time.

 

Now think how everything would look if you could step for a moment into the big, final window, seeing the story of your life complete at last; seeing the golden strand of God’s love running through it whether we know it or not; seeing how good and bad times weave together and how the tiny choices we make day by day build together to make the people we turn out to be. Only by looking at things from that perspective can we get a glimpse of the true importance of our everyday lives and actions. And from that perspective, none of us would be left in any doubt about what the most important things in our lives ought to be.

 

Not the things that happen to us, but our response to them. The love we share with family and friends; the kindness with which we treat each other; the integrity that lets us walk through life without tripping over our own

words or actions; the faith that lets us trust that there is a deep well of goodness in the world and strengthens us to draw upon it; those are the things for which we will be loved and remembered. If we could draw that perspective back with us, into our daily lives, it might transform even the Christmas shopping. And it would certainly help us get ready for the joy of Christmas – the joy of knowing that God is with us, and that his light will never go out.

 

Rev’d. Karen Spray 01392 877400

church@revdkaren.org.uk


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