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Minister: Revd Hugh Graham
97 Crofton Road, London E13 8QT
Phone: 020 7473 3524
Email: hughf.graham@gmail.com

NEWSLETTER  DECEMBER 2014

From the Manse

Dear Friends,

 

Into December, and Advent has already begun! Our Advent calendars counting down the days, and diaries filling up!

There are lots of new things in my diary this year, as you will have guessed, including visits to Santa’s Grotto, school Christmas lunch, the Christmas disco and the Nativity play - I can’t avoid the fact that Advent and Christmas have changed and we are getting excited.

Yet the reality is that for all of us Advent and Christmas change in some way or other. And no, I don’t mean the ever earlier appearance of Christmas cards and decorations and food in the shops - how many of you have bought mince pies or Christmas cake and pudding and then found that the ‘use by..’ date was last week? There is still that time of Advent preparation, readying ourselves, reflecting on bible readings that talk to us in part about the coming Nativity, but also of the second coming. Of that return of the Christ as King… as Isaac Watts Advent hymn says

 “Joy to the world, the Lord IS come

“Joy to the world, the Saviour REIGNS!

“He RULES the world with truth and grace”

 There is no future tense there, our Lord Jesus Christ is come, reigns now and rules now.

So while we still come with joy and wonder to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, Advent reminds us that he has come, he is here and will come again. And as time passes our faith deepens and becomes enriched as we contemplate the words that tell this story and carry God’s message to us, never leaving us unchanged.

At this time of preparation and joyous celebration let us also pay heed to those for whom the twinkling lights and merry songs are a source of darkness and gloom. Our brothers and sisters who struggle at this time with grief, with depression, or illness. At a time when the winter solstice makes days shorter and darker they need especially, as do we all, the comfort, healing and hope of Christ. As we go forward towards this Christmas season May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the Magi, and the peace of the Christ Child.

Your minister and friend,

Hugh

AN ADVENT PRAYER

The Advent story

of hope and mystery,

anticipation,

preparation,

a kingdom

of this world and the next,

and a king

appearing when we least expect.

Heaven touching earth,

the footsteps of the divine

walking dusty roads

as once they did in Eden,

and a people,

searching for a Saviour,

and walking past

the stable.

Open eyes and hearts,

that this might be

an Advent of hope to the world.