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Dec 28 2015

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RECTOR’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2015

Dear People of God

Christmas is here at last. All the preparations, all the arrangements, all the buying of presents, all the weeks of excitement and anticipation of our children and grandchildren, have finally come together in this very special time. Christmas is a time to be together – a time for families, for gifts, for sharing, for being together.

 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined’.

These words from the prophet Isaiah break open the deepest truth of Christmas: that Christmas is an invasion of light. And yet, we know that Christmas can also be a difficult time for people on their own, for those of us who have recently lost loved ones, those of us for whom this time of togetherness reminds us all too painfully of our alone-ness, of loss and grief. We also know that there is darkness in this world – depression, despondency, dejection and despair, woundedness and brokenness, misery and grief. Jesus – as it says in the famous words of the Gospel according to St John, is the light who shines in every darkness; and no darkness can ever extinguish it. At Christmas we too are invited to get close to the light—so that the light of the Christ child can transform us and through us fill the places of darkness in our world with the light of God's promise. The world longs for this invasion of light–Christmas is God's reminder that light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

The birth of Christ means that God has not turned his back on the world. In the midst of all the serious stuff we face in this world, Jesus is amongst us. God is with us. The birth of Jesus means that God has walked amongst us as a human being, and knows at first hand our experiences of suffering and heartache and loss. We are called to live this incarnational life: the love of God made flesh. The birth of Jesus as a vulnerable baby means that no-one is forgotten or ignored, because Jesus walked amongst us and reached out to the poor, the sick, the lonely, the suffering. The birth of Jesus means that you and I are deeply, forever, loved by God. The birth of Jesus means that we have a way given to us, God's way, to find life.  As John's Gospel tells us, '{The true light, Jesus] was in the world; but the world, though it owed its being to him, did not recognise him. He came to his own, and his own people would not accept him. But to all who did accept him, to those who put their trust in him, he gave the right to become children of God". (Jn 1:10-12). Yes, the right, or (NRSV) the power to become children of God. The birth of Jesus means that you and I and all people everywhere have the opportunity, the offer, the Christmas gift, to become our true selves: children of God, people in relationship, in harmony with God and with those around us, people at peace with God, walking in the light, living lives free of guilt and sin, forgiven, whole, healed, restored.

I pray that through Christ's birth, you will experience the peace of Christmas in your hearts: the peace which the world is unable to give, the peace which only Christ can give. It is a peace for which so many broken and sorrowful hearts yearn. It is a peace which we can share with each other in love, compassion, and in forgiveness. I also pray that your Christmas will be filled with renewed hope even when what is occurring in the world around us make it difficult to hope; and may you experience the joy of Christ's birth with the exuberance of the angels who sang, "Glory to God in the highest heaven!"

Wishing you blessed and joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2016.

Fr. Joe Humbles and family

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stgeorge.org.za/2015/12/28/rectors-christmas-message-2015/