Vicar's Letter 18.12

    A letter from a Lay Minister

I just love presents, I do like receiving them of course but I really get a thrill from choosing presents. Before we married, I realized that Francis love for me was not always going to be expressed in suitable presents. A packet of his favorite chocolate biscuits (he hasn’t changed I hear you saying) and a bunch of nearly dead flowers was his first birthday offering! With a little guidance and a few subtle hints, he has changed!

When I choose a gift for someone,

 I look for something that will last hopefully longer than the flowers or biscuits. I like a present to be practical, something that won’t immediately be given to the charity shop.

I want it to have cost me something, not monetarily but a cost to me personally perhaps in time making it or choosing it.

One Christmas service in our parish in Tunbridge Wells we managed to wrap a baby carrycot up to look like a big gift. When Francis lifted the newborn out of the cot there was a very large “wow”. It was seeing this very vulnerable baby that made us all realize that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of a special child.

 Our choice of presents for one another however they are chosen pales into insignificance when we are reminded of the amazing gift God has given to each one of us

“ God so loved the world that he gave his Son so that all who believe in Him might have eternal life”. We give to one another, because God gave to us.

The baby in the carrycot is now a 20 something and following in her parents’ footsteps as a very good musician.

 Jesus too grew up and we read about his life in the scriptures. Perhaps the challenge for us this year is not to leave him in the manger with the tinsel and mistletoe but to get to know Him personally. In this world there is much change and uncertainty but we are promised that God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow. I love this piece from a book by Stephen Cottrell, “The human heart is made for community with God. All the creative things that thrill the human heart – music and dance and football and poetry, walking on the Downs or cross-stitching a tapestry – are echoes of the joyful, creative God whose overflowing love created it all in the first place and who made us creative.” Christmas is one of those times when we have a wonderful opportunity to sense that life is bigger than the daily routine. Christmas is all about God searching for us, and coming to speak to us in a language that we can understand.

Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas. Tina