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A Message from Our Vicar – December 2017

        ‘Working as Christ’s presence within the world’

Revd Lynn Boyle

Revd Lynn Boyle

 This year we have focussed particularly upon the homeless – supporting Wellspring with food and toiletries and then over the past weeks with warm hats, gloves, scarves, socks etc. It is such a wonderful centre of committed people, helping those who do not have the home comforts we take so much for granted. I was recently talking to a wonderful lady who was, as she put it ‘street homeless’ for a time. She slept where she could until the day a lady showed her such love and kindness and changed her life for ever. She has now given her life to supporting others who feel as alone in the world as she did.

But it isn’t just the homeless, there are many who admit to feeling completely alone in the world, believing that nobody cares or takes any notice of them. I am sure that this will be the case for numerous people during the Christmas period.

But Christians are reminded throughout the season of Advent and Christmas that we are never completely alone, that God is always with us and that Christ promised us that He would dwell within us through the Holy Spirit, and that He would be with us until the end of time.

The Church of England has chosen the simple phrase ‘God with Us’ as the strapline for its Christmas mission statement. It has caused me to ponder what people really understand by this and if this is the case what of those people who feel so completely alone? What can we do to show them that God is present in their lives and that they are always loved and cared for?

When Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel, He told her that her child would be called ‘Immanuel’, which literally means ‘God with us. Jesus was the exact imprint of God, come to earth to live among us, to experience life that was fully human, whilst being fully divine. And then in John Chapter 14 Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. And so, we are never apart from God because that’s the way He planned and wanted it to be. He wanted to be as close as He could be to each and every one of His creation through the Holy Spirit.

So, why is it then that some people don’t recognise His presence within them and feel so completely alone? I think one answer is that some have simply ‘lost’ God; events have taken place in their lives where God has felt remote and they now just cannot re-find Him. And then there are those who haven’t found Him in their hearts the first place, who have tried to live their lives independent of God.

We know that people often discover God through profound personal and private experiences, but it is far more likely to be through His intervention through another human being. It is in the loving kindness and compassion of a friend, a neighbour or a complete stranger, that suddenly makes God’s presence evident and ignites or re-ignites the spark of His light within the lonely heart.

This Advent and Christmas, as we ponder the wonder of the meaning of the phrase ‘God with Us’ and our lives and our relationship with Christ – Immanuel, let us not forget all those who will be or will feel alone, those who yearn for that human touch, for real care and concern. And let us be mindful of all those who are still searching in life, but, have not yet realised that it is God who is missing, it is Him they are looking for.

John Chapter 14 also reminds us that with the Holy Spirit, Christ left us His peace – a peace which this world cannot give. We will only find that peace when we allow Him into our hearts and we share it with others.

I wish you the peaceful and reflective Advent, a joyous Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

God bless

Lynn  Christian Christmas Nativity Scene

 

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