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St Paul’s And Holy Cross

1st of December 2013

Season of Good Will
‘Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God ‘(1 John 4:7)

How are your preparations going for what has become the busiest and, for some, the most stressful time of the year? In contrast to the speeding-up of life in the run-up to Christmas, nature understands the need for rest and quiet: after her marvellous displays and generous giving of Summer and Autumn, she slows to almost stopping. This blessing for us is a reminder that, from time to time, we too need to shift down a gear. Many of the couples that I have married over the years give a great deal of their time, energy and resources to contemplating and planning their wedding day, but few speak of their strategies for securing their wellbeing in the lifetime of days that will follow. The run-up to Christmas can feel a bit like this. But I wonder what difference it would make if part of the preparation included some serious thought about what it is that we are actually preparing for. In reality, what we are preparing for is our future. On Christmas Day Christians celebrate the birth of a child who would change the course of history. A different kind of light and love penetrated humanity. This is what we prepare for, remember and celebrate every Christmas in our homes with our family, friends and neighbours. It’s more than the gifts we give, or the number of cards we have sent, or how magnificent the tree or the fayre on the day. It’s about the quality of the love that is given and received. Like a wedding day, Christmas Day marks the beginning of something new, so how we prepare for it may have a bearing on the future. The period of Advent, which leads up to Christmas, is traditionally a time for reflection and remembrance: we review our year, contemplate our future, and consider what resolutions we might make, not just for securing our own wellbeing but that of others struggling to survive against the unjust structures of the world. So allow yourself this time to shift down a gear and think about these things. Think about what it means to give and receive love. On Christmas Day and during the twelve days of Christmas what we will be celebrating that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to us. Shalom, Michele

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