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Rector's View - December 2008

Dear friends,

"The shepherds went with haste". It has been suggested that they were the forerunners of the Christmas rush, which unless carefully watched, can spoil our celebration of Christmas.

"I wrap, send, clean, cook and worry that no one is left out", said one lady. "I worry about whether the money will stretch far enough, whether the turkey will fit into the oven, and how best to place the chairs around the table." It has been said that once the Christmas season is over, many people find that they are ninety days ahead with their calorie intake, and ninety days behind with their bills!

In the Gospel story about Martha and Mary, who entertained Jesus at Bethany, Martha exhausted herself with much bustling and serving, while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to Him. Although Jesus said that of the two sisters, Mary had chosen the better part, the sympathy of many people is with the Marthas of this world. "Lord", she said, "do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?" But Jesus answered, "Martha, Martha, you are too anxious, too busy."

Neither Martha nor Mary is perfect. We need the best qualities of both. Our celebration of Christmas would lose much if we really managed to opt out of all the presents, entertaining and decorating. A tin of baked beans without friends or relatives would not be the same! But our celebration of Christmas also loses much if, like Martha, we fail to make time to relax and worship, to ponder with awe the real meaning of Christmas. Let us then have a really joyful celebration of our Lord and Saviour's birthday - and this can certainly include appreciating the good things, which God has given us to enjoy. But let us also make sure that all the rushing, cleaning, cooking and decorating does not destroy the peace, goodwill and joy which ought to characterise the festival of Christ's birth.

I look forward to seeing you at one or more of our Christmas services.

Our Carol Services are on Saturday 20th December at 5.00pm at Denston, Sunday 21st December at 6.00pm at Stradishall and on Christmas Eve at 5.00pm at Stansfield.

Then, later on Christmas Eve, we celebrate the Midnight Mass at All Saints', Wickhambrook, beginning at 11.30pm.

Benefice Services on Christmas morning are at Denston at 9.00am and at Stansfield at 10.30am.

May God grant to you and to all whom you love, a truly happy and blessed Christmas.

Stephen

Rev'd Stephen Abbott

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Last Modified Wednesday 25 May 2011