Vicar's letter

Dear Friends,

 I believe (Jesus') message of peace-on-earth and goodwill-to-all is never out of date.  It can be heeded by everyone.  It's needed as much as ever.

Words from the Queen's Christmas Broadcast on Christmas Day, last year.  Some of my earliest memories of Christmas Day are of the Queen's speech.  My grandfather would insist on complete silence as we gathered around the television to watch it - not easy to do when you are little and you have just opened your much longed for toy from Father Christmas!  However, as a result of his strictness in this area, I have always since made sure that I watch or listen to the Queen - even if nowadays by 3pm on Christmas Day I am feeling somewhat tired after the Christmas services!

Yet her speech last year, as many have before, had the Christmas message running through it, as well as expressing - as this broadcast often does - the importance of her own faith.  To hear her then, whose reign has seen social and cultural change on an unprecedented level, speak of the timelessness of Christ's message of peace and goodwill, is comforting.  To then hear her say "It's needed as much as ever" should surely make us all think.

2019, as was 2018, has been another year of difficulty and division.  Another general election looms; the Brexit debates roll on; we are divided significantly by the debates of the last three years.  On a daily basis now we hear stories of our politicians being threatened and intimidated, so much so that many have decided to not run for re-election in a few weeks' time.

It is then into this world, this uncertainty, this angst that Christ will be born on Christmas Day.  God's timeless gift to us and to the world.  God's Son.  For it is he who will show us that division can be healed; that love can overcome hate; that what was once thought to be impossible is possible.  For he is "God with us" and he and his message is "needed as much as ever".

I send you and all those you love every blessing for a holy Advent and a very happy Christmas