Below is the regular monthly Letter from the Vicarage, for December 2017. We have also attached the St Thomas' Diary for December – lots of events!
By the time you read this article a New Year will have started. I am, of course, referring to the Church Year, which begins on Advent Sunday -- this year 3rd. December. Fortunately, my Church Diary covers thirteen months, which means I don't have to use my new one for the last month of 2017 and can include all 2017 events in my old diary.
This does, however, remind us all that the season of Advent is about new beginnings. The new era was initiated 2,000 years ago by the birth of Jesus. Old Testament Prophets pointed to this new era, when Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, the 'Prince of Peace' was born. Jesus himself said to his disciples (when he was about to return to his Father in heaven) 'I am leaving you with a gift -- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives.' He ends this Bible passage 'so don't be troubled or afraid' (John 14).
Perhaps this is the message we should embrace as Christmas approaches and we celebrate Jesus' birth. Sometimes we may be overwhelmed by the evil things we see around us in the world. Jesus himself warns us about such events, but he also encourages us to stand firm in our faith and not to be troubled. And we shouldn't forget, Advent doesn't simply point towards Jesus' first coming as a tiny baby, it also reminds us of his second coming, when another new era will be heralded in.
I leave you with the words of one of the most loved and well known Christmas carols (but which one?)
'Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In his temple shall appear'
Have a peaceful Christmas,
Tim and Norma