Christmas Message 2017

December 2017

One thing perhaps we miss in the busyness of Christmas is something that happened in Bethlehem all those years ago: two people in need; weary, anxious, alone among strangers found a safe place. It wasn't much. Just a stable. But it was a roof, a shelter from the elements, and a place of welcome and rest.

A long time ago now, I started going to church. My parents weren't churchgoers and neither were my friends at the time. When, at a party, someone asked why I had started going to church, I said: "I don't know... But I suppose it has something to do with the fact that for an hour or so once a week, there's a place where people get together who are at least trying to be kind to one another." Clubs, societies, offices, schools, mother's groups... they all have good and kind people and the best intentions. But their purpose is not specifically, not principally, to be kind to one another. Church is the only place where that is its main reason to exist. First, last and always. Offering the peace, love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone. That is the whole - and real - point of Christmas.

Church isn't very special. It isn't much. But it's a safe place, a roof, a shelter from the elements, from the ways of the world, and a place of welcome and rest.

Whoever you are, wherever you are on the spectrum of faith and belief, you will always find St Mary's a place of warmth and welcome... not just at Christmas but throughout the year, every year. Without fail.

With every blessing to you, and all for whom you care, this special time. Amen.