From the Rector - December 2015

It would be a delight to welcome you to any of our services over Christmas (or any time). Families and children are welcome at any of our services.

I wonder how willing you are to trust other people? Are others willing to trust you? There is quite a lot of trust around the Christmas story. There is Joseph - quite an incredible man amongst men. Joseph finding his fiancée to be pregnant could have refused to marry her but is persuaded in a dream to trust both her and God.

There is no doubt why Mary trusted him. He is a man of noble character, refusing to make a public scandal out of Mary's pregnancy.

Joseph knew Mary too, and in the depths of his heart he trusted her. Of course there were difficult facts to face but it took just one mysterious dream to set Joseph's heart at peace.

Then there is Mary herself. She puts her trust in the words of an angelic messenger although few people are likely to believe her story and she knows that to bear a child can only bring shame on her family. She trusted Joseph, and God too, resisting what passes for human respectability and ‘common sense’.

You can just imagine the tongues wagging in that little town. Perhaps that is partly why Mary and Joseph chose precisely that moment to set off to be registered at Bethlehem — it was a good excuse to get away from all the gossip.

We see the trust of the shepherds and of the Magi and later on of apostles and disciples.

Behind the human trust that we see so poignantly displayed in Mary and Joseph there is of course something much greater, the eternal trustworthiness of God and a word that can never be broken.

God is asking us to renew our trust in each other and to build a world in which not only individuals but whole nations display a genuine care and concern for each other, a world in which we are more concerned with our duties to each other than a fearful preservation of our own petty rights on our own little patch of turf.

But God is not only asking us to keep trusting each other. We are being asked to trust in something much more sure and certain than a vague hope in human benevolence.

God is asking us to trust Him.

The gospel tells us that Mary bears a son whose name is Emmanuel, or 'God-is-with-us‘.

This Christmas may we all grow in trust and faithfulness to God and to each other.

On behalf of all our churches in the Benefice may I wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Richard