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St Pauls And Holy Cross

2nd of December 2007

It is early November….I have just returned from a fortnight in Rwanda, visiting the church there, and meeting all sorts of people who live and work miles away from any tarmac road, with no supply of clean water…few clothes…just about enough to eat…yet wonderfully welcoming and friendly, many of them amazingly skilled and innovative.
Back home, an email reminds me that it is time to write for the December edition of Chipperfield News. I find myself thinking about who will have the more joyful Christmas….those Rwandans whom I have met and worked alongside – with their wonderful smiles, enthusiasm and spiritual fervour, and almost total lack of material things…or you and me, with all the commercial pressures which bear down upon us with the (not so subtle) message that “contentment lies in having….and consuming”
The Prince of Peace, whose coming into the world – in circumstances akin to the way many in a country like Rwanda live – lies at the heart of Christmas, reminds us that our life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions. Happiness and contentment are things which seem remarkably elusive…if we seek them, they somehow slip our grasp. That is because they are consequences of something deeper…of right relationships, with those around me, and critically, with my Maker: and it was with exactly that in mind that He left behind all the splendour and wonder of the “throne of heaven”, to come and be alongside us, that we might know and enjoy life shared with Him, with Almighty God as “Our Father”, whatever our material circumstances might be!
May a deep joy and contentment be both your and my experience this Christmastime, along with those I had the privilege of meeting in Rwanda, this October.
His peace be with you, Jim Stevens

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