DECEmber 2018
From THE RECTOR: Revd. SUE WHARTON

Happy Christmas and New Year!

SW

 

This is the magazine which covers two New Years – the church starts its new year on Advent Sunday as we begin the countdown to Christmas.  During Advent we remember the Patriarchs – the early figures of the Old Testament such as Moses – and Prophets, John the Baptist and Mary in the countdown to Christmas.  Each of these is seen as playing a role in preparing the way for the coming of Jesus.  The four Sundays in the Advent season give rise to the four candles in the Advent rings used in our churches, with the white central one being reserved for Christmas Day and the Sunday after.

 

Then during January, when we have our civic New Year, the Church year moves through Christmas to begin Epiphany on 6th January.  Epiphany simply means revelation and so the season of epiphany explores the ways in which the coming of Jesus as a baby revealed God to us.  The season of Epiphany lasts throughout January.

 

Both Advent and Epiphany hinge around the central festival of Christmas in which we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus, in which He came to earth in human form as a baby. Christians believe that this is a mind-blowing fact which continues to have enormous ramifications two millennia later.

 

Some of this is expressed in the poem ‘And did it happen?’ from the Iona Community book ‘Cloth for the Cradle’.

 

And did it happen

that in a stable long ago,

a weary couple,

who no-one wanted to know,

should choose a manger,

in spite of the danger,

to hold and hallow the Lord below?


                               And did it happen

that in the stillness of the night,

the woman laboured

to let God see the light,

and bathed and dressed him,

breastfed and blessed him,

the Word incarnate whose time was right?

 

And did it happen

that news of this first reached the poor,

compelled by angels

to tiptoe to the door

and see no trappings,

just linen wrappings,

a baby for certain and God for sure?


And did it happen

that all of this was meant to be,

that God from distance

should choose to set free

and show uniqueness

transformed in weakness,

that I might touch him and he touch me?

 

In this magazine covering December and January may I wish you a Very Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year,

With love, Sue