Letter from the Vicar
We celebrate the Incarnation (Jesus taking our human flesh) this year against the backdrop of suffering and trauma for the people of Gaza, Israel, Ukraine, Sudan, Yemen and Syria as a result of war and conflict with the consequences for the lives of individuals, families and communities. Once again we will sing about the Prince of Peace entering our world to bring healing, reconciliation and peace in our Carols and once again we will listen to the Christmas readings that look forward to a world freed from oppression, tyranny, violence and division. But as we listen and sing, we might feel that the joy, hope, promise and certainty of Christmas has been lost on those who wage war and do not appear to care about the numbers of people killed, wounded, maimed and traumatised.
However difficult it is to imagine how, when and where wars will cease and the Prince of Peace will bring in God's Kingdom of justice and peace, this is our hope and something that we are all called to work for. At the heart of Christmas is the demonstration of God’s love for the world by entering it in human flesh, identifying with humanity and placing himself in the centre of poverty, suffering, brokenness and need in order to open the door to transformation, healing and hope. Christmas is an invitation to respond to God entering the world in human form and agreeing to work in collaboration with God to end wars, reconcile difference and our determination to close the gaps that divide people.
Embracing and receiving Emmanuel, God with us, takes us beyond the twelve days of Christmas into the New Year and beyond. The courage, compassion, generosity, sacrifice and desire to take light into the darkness of war and suffering through reaching out to the victims of conflict and poverty, should give us hope and inspiration to embrace and live out through our lives and witness, the true message and hope of Christmas in every way, context and relationship. God needs us all to be peacemakers and agents of hope and love wherever we are and through opportunities to serve our neighbour.
Every blessing for Christmas.