Monthly letter from the Clergy

December 2017 and January 2018
                                                         This months letter is from Revd Jenny Gray
 

Christmas Party PictureGo Compare may help you buy insurance, holidays or cars but it doesn’t work for Christmas! Comparing this year’s Christmas with Christmases past, with TV ads of glamorous parties, with friends’ posts on social media (most people only post their good stuff) invites disappointment and discontent.  It’s easy to assume everyone, except you, is having a fabulous fun time.  But relatives can be difficult, children can be grouchy, finances can be overstretched, a sense of anti-climax can follow months of build-up (some shops start in September).  Christmas can be desperately lonely for the widowed, divorced, single, childless, sick or housebound.  A quarter of households now comprise one person.  Many people, especially the elderly, have no near family, close friends or good neighbours. The first step to making this a good Christmas is Don’t Compare.  Don’t wallow in the past.  Don’t envy what you think others have.  Ignore the hype. Forget the stereotypes.  Accept your Christmas for what it is now and make the most of all you have. 
 
The second step to making this a good Christmas is taking every opportunity that comes
your way to blReverse Advent Calaedaress others...a kind word...a carefully written card...a specially chosen or homemade gift... a phone call or visit... time to be a good neighbour or volunteer...a donation to Crisis or Refugees or whatever worthwhile appeal touches you/your family.  Giving really does bless the giver as well as the receiver. Discover the joy of giving.  

Giving reminds us why we celebrate Christmas.  Jesus’ example and teaching is the reason why our churches support Christmas Alone at Sele School*, the Children’s Society (working with UK children at risk) in our Christingle and Carol services*, the Stevenage Women’s Refuge in our Gift Services*, the Food Bank in this year’s new Reverse Advent Calendar* and other charities which change lives for good in the developing world (*details inside).

Whatever our situation, with forethought and effort, we can re-phrase Bing Crosby’s song and have ourselves a caring Christmas.  It may be really tough but, with courage, imagination and generosity, we can re-shape Christmas.  Mindset matters.  Being positive, choosing to make the best of circumstances makes a huge difference. If you are secretly dreading Christmas why not sign up for Christmas lunch at Sele School* as a guest or volunteer helper. Or pluck up courage to plan something and invite others to spend time with you.  Join the special candlelit Carols, Crib, Midnight Mass or Christmas Day celebrations in our churches.  Enjoy carol singing in Watton’s and Aston’s pubs and around Waterford village, with mince pies and mulled wine - ALL are welcome and we’re better together! 

The God with us logoMake more of Christmas by signing up for a simple reflection delivered free to your phone or inbox www.churchofengland.org/Christmas or text GODWITHUS to 88802. You can unsubscribe at any time. 

If your Christmas isn’t easy remember Mary, Joseph and Jesus’ shelter was a stable in a country occupied by a foreign power. Like millions of refugees today they fled for their lives to Egypt while Herod massacred innocent children in Bethlehem. 
Have yourself a caring not comparing Christmas.