Christmas and New Year Wishes from Ruth Bond

Dear Friends,

As I write, the nation has just stood in the silence of Remembrance. In the quiet and solitude of our thoughts we recalled what had been.  But now, in noise and activity, we impatiently await the next big landmark of Christmas.  We remember too though previous 25ths of December, many happy, some not so happy perhaps but, nonetheless, here it comes again and the excitement builds.  Everything is rushing towards that day again.  There is a continuous flow of imperative news of what and where to buy this and that.  We are told what we need to purchase and what would be such a treat:  retail on the move, pulling the tinsel over our eyes — and all for what?

To remember the birth of a child 220 decades ago, born in the quiet and magnificence of a humble stable after the frantic searching for shelter.* It’s all for a birthday celebration.  The four weeks until the 25th is a stretch of time we call Advent which means ‘a time for awaiting the arrival of a noble person or thing’.  As a child, my fondest Christmas desire was for a red handled kettle for my dolls; but the real wait is for that noble, kingly servant, Jesus. And as we wait we prepare for the arrival of the gifts and also to receive the message that Jesus brought with him – that we are loved unconditionally. But the preparations are exciting and none more so than decorating the tree – when that happens the festivities have begun!  I do hope you have fashioned a tree to display at the Christmas Tree Festival in St Peter’s this month, or at least plan to come and have a look.  With the glitter and the lights it provides a wonderful and holy place.  This is a great opportunity to get creative and find that God-given hidden talent.

But then comes January, the month of resolutions to change or do all sorts; the month of clearing away to make space for the new that was so anticipated in December.  The feast of Epiphany on the 6th  January remembers the time when Jesus was revealed to the world as God on earth, the time when everything changed and was, yes,  new.  We might paint a wall to freshen it up but we have the opportunity every day to make a fresh beginning; and all because of that baby who was serenaded with the lowing of cattle.

Wishing for you happiness at Christmas and joy in 2020.

Ruth Bond LLM

*Luke ch 2, vs 1 -20.

 

November thoughts from Rev Becca Gilbert

Dear Friends,

November heralds the very often grey, quiet time of the year when in the northern hemisphere at least, the natural world begins to take a well-earned rest. The last of the leaves are falling from the trees, leaving bare branches against the cloudy skies. Squirrels retreat from the chill of the approaching winter. Plants are dying back in the garden, and the damp of autumn hangs in the air.

Yet paradoxically, for the human world it’s often a time to accelerate forwards – or that’s how it can feel to me!  Onwards to the festive season that is approaching in the next calendar month. Adverts tell us how many shopping days are left till the big day, while big online shopping events like Black Friday loom on the horizon.  

But if we can resist the commercial pressure that often builds at this time of year, and reconnect with the season that is unfolding outside our windows, it might just give us breathing space to approach things a bit differently. Slowing ourselves to the rhythm of the natural ebb and flow, cultivation and fallow, flowering and dying off of the fields, trees, and landscape around us might just give us an excuse, a reason, to put down our phones and break those 24/7 patterns.

The church calendar also brings with it an opportunity for us to look back and remember, first in the form of All Souls at the beginning of the month, and then on to Remembrance Sunday on 10th November. And as the nights draw in it is perhaps also a time to look forward, to reflect and perhaps even begin to mend those things in our life that need attention.

So before the busyness of Christmas takes over, may we find time to ensure that the most important things in our lives, our relationships with each other and ourselves – and for some of us – with God, are found in a good place, rooted in peace and ready for whatever the season will bring.

Much love, Becca Gilbert.

Serving the parishes of Barton, Coton, Harlton and Haslingfield in the Lordsbridge Team of churche

A message from Becca ……

The summer can often be a time to reacquaint ourselves with old friends along with making new ones. With the longer and milder days, it’s also a season of weddings, BBQs, gardening and perhaps a holiday, which can be a chance to gather with others – or escape of course!

However I’ve been struck by recent reports about the epidemic of loneliness, which can affect our health. Whilst it may be grabbing headlines at the moment, it’s nothing new, as many of us will know through our own experience, or of those whom we know, love, and live alongside. It is most often highlighted among older people, however a recent study undertaken by Kings College London highlighted just how prevalent it is for young adults, regardless of gender or socio-economic background. Their findings reported that young people who are more likely to have a negative view of where they live, had a greater sense of isolation, irrespective of whether they came from rural or urban areas, wealthy areas as well as deprived ones. Loneliness can affect us all no matter our age, where we live or how we live.

As Christians we are just about to mark the festival of Pentecost, which saw the birth of a new worldwide community as the message of Christ’s resurrection was shared by Peter and the disciples. Community is at the heart and the health of what it is for me to be a person of faith, and so welcome and hospitality are inextricably linked to it. Words from St Matthew’s gospel, “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me”, are as important now as they were 2,000 years ago when that new community was born.

May you know and indeed have the courage to offer friendship and companionship this season as we enjoy the summer in our community.

Much love Becca
Rev Rebecca Gilbert, Lordsbridge Team