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Vicar's Letter

December 2021

Dear Friends,

I write this as we approach 'Stir Up' Sunday, based on the church's prayer for the day that begins, 'Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people….' It is the day when tradition says make your Christmas cake, mincemeat and Christmas puddings and stir them well.

As if we needed a prompt that Christmas is coming! Yes, Christmas is approaching fast and it is easy to be caught up in the preparations for the season. Shops and television adverts are full of Christmas decorations, cards, Christmas food and must-have gifts. All to ensure everything is ready in good time.

The Church is also getting ready - for that is what the time of Advent is all about. We are asked to use the weeks before Christmas as a time of prayer and reflection, to prepare our hearts and lives in order to welcome anew the Christchild on Christmas Day.

We will miss much of the joy and celebration of Christmas if we have made no spiritual preparation. If we are to welcome the Christchild anew into our hearts there must be room for him. Just as we get our homes ready to welcome family and friends so our hearts must be ready to greet the Babe of Bethlehem.

So how can we clear some space in which to 'be' with God, when can we find the time, and where should we be? For each one of us the answer will be different. We may well discover that taking the dog for a walk or the journey to and from work or shopping becomes the time to listen to God - thereby restoring a sense of balance and peace.

We must also remember that the Christchild we are preparing to welcome is God Incarnate. He is to be found in the midst of life, even in the midst of the crowded shopping precinct! Take a moment to look at the people around you, including the harassed mother, the unemployed youngster, the homeless stranger. Take a minute to listen to the carols being played, and take time to look at the nativity scene in the shop window. Look at the wonder on a child's face. There, in all of this, is God Incarnate.

Look again at the homeless stranger and see Christ. Look again at the single parent and see Mary. Look again at those struggling to make ends meet and see the Holy Family. Look again at children's faces and see the shepherds and magi. Then, worship and adore. And don't forget to look at yourself, for it is for you that Christ was born.

If we can do that, we will be prepared and ready to welcome the Christchild into our hearts and lives.

Why not make time and space to come to one of the many services in the churches of our Benefice – they will be full of the true spirit of Christmas and you will be very welcome.

May the beautiful blessings of Christmas be Christ's gift to you and to those you love and care for.

With love

Sandy

Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus,
That we may share in the song of the angels,
The gladness of the shepherds,
And the worship of the wise men.

Amen.

Line drawing of St Andrew's Church
St Andrew's Church Sign