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St Michaels and All Angels Church, Bodenham The Chancel, St Michaels and All Angels Church, Bodenham

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The Vicar's Monthly Message


Dear friends

As we hunker down, switch our lights on earlier in darkening afternoons, our thoughts begin to turn towards carols and tree decorations, mince-pies and the wrapping of gifts, Nativity plays and family togetherness - that is, always supposing that we have secure homes, warm clothes, enough food, and income to pay for presents, and families to love and to be loved by. Those who have all of these things are in the minority in the world and, possibly, even in this country.

Every year, as regular as Christmas itself, Christian ministers will go on about how the significance of the season is lost in a sea of commercialism and Jingle Bells or I’m dreaming of a White Christmas on an endless loop.

Yet in spite of all of that, the Christmas festival continues to have a strong hold on both our imagination and our hopes. For many no amount of personal or cultural distraction can spoil that moment when, perhaps in a carol, or a prayer, or a Bible reading, a unique stillness falls. In that moment it is as if the world, with all its busyness, holds its breath and we are reminded that Emmanuel, ‘God-with-us’ has come into the world.

The Servant King, born into the muck of a stable, amidst the pettiness and preoccupation of simple lives, was in that moment God’s answer to the conceit of the powerful: that they are ‘in charge’.

It was into a fearful world and at an anxious time that Jesus Christ was born. He was born into a family that was on the move, that had to flee for their lives to a foreign country – a picture repeated up to the present day. Yet God’s gift of love was given both to ‘comfort the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable’. In 1908 Minnie Haskin wrote these words which have brought comfort to so many:

“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!’ So I went forth and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.”

We shall be celebrating that light coming into the world at our churches this Christmas (see this issue for details of services). We will also celebrate that light into the dark month of January with a Family Candlemas service at Marden on 13th January (11.15am) and the first of our monthly group communion services at Bodenham on 20th January (10.00am).

If you can join us this Christmas, you will hear again St. Luke’s telling of that first Christmas – a message of the source of hope that fear cannot destroy:

“Fear not, for I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all people.
For to you is born this day in the town of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”

May God bless you richly this Christmas.



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