December 2017                   From the Rectory

Dear Friends,

Not everybody looks forward to Christmas. Some dread the upset of remembering happier times. Some disapprove of the commercial pressures that tempt us to overindulge. A small minority try to ignore Christmas on religious grounds. The vast majority, however, look forward to the festival. They plan and hope for a most enjoyable time. Shops rely on the popularity of Christmas, and their adverts set out to entice us to show them favour.

The Christmas adverts have two goals in mind; they want to say that they know what Christmas is all about and that their product is a vital part of it. So make sure you are invited to a party where there is lots of finger food, make sure you have plenty to eat and drink - preferably in good company. Book to see the Nutcracker Suite. Buy perfume, a music CD and a new sofa. (Interestingly, I haven't seen any presents for men being advertised.)

The Church's advertising is more low-key. We simply advertise the times of our Services and hope you attend. We are the people who really know what Christmas is about, and our 'product; is seriously vital to the festival- so much so that the whole season is named after it! Of course I shouldn't be saying 'product' and 'it' but rather 'him'. Despite the church's quiet advertising, we have managed to popularise a slogan: Jesus is the reason for the

season. What do you think? Should we be shouting more loudly about him?

I love everything to do with Christmas - the emotion, the nostalgia, the magic, the sparkle, and even the busyness. Even when I have been sad, the sheer wonder of Christmas has not disappointed. But I am sure that I would feel like an intruder at somebody else's party if I didn't pay homage at Jesus' manger. Far from the spiritual side of Christmas dampening the fun, it actually makes sense of it all.

So, I hope you will be both happy and merry this Christmas. More than that, I hope you will be truly joyful. Happiness is great; joy is even better. That is why we sing 'Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King'.
                                   John Ganjavi