Dear friends -Merry Christmas!

Of course while you read this it will still be Advent, but Christmas is just around the corner. And writing this article while pregnant is giving me a slightly different outlook on the Christmas story than I have perhaps previously had. As many of you will remember or realise, being pregnant or having a child to look after, can change your outlook on the world somewhat. Things which were once overlooked can suddenly seem a danger and issues given some thought can become more prominent in your mind. This seems to relate to everyday occurrences of wondering if it really is safe for a young child to go on a swing or if your child is actually eating enough or the right foods, to the bigger concerns of life and worrying about what will happen in the future if many parts of the world do flood due to climate change or if it is safe to go to the supermarket during a pandemic when pregnant, and so on.

All this makes me wonder what concerns Mary had for the child she was carrying. As a mother, I imagine she had the usual kind of concerns for her baby, and as a young family without much income I imagine her concerns were greater than some of ours might be -Where was Jesus going to be born, would there be enough food for her child and her, and so on. As the mother of Christ, I wonder what larger concerns she was carrying -Was she worried about what his future held or about the huge responsibility this placed on her and Joseph as they brought the child up? Or, was she so content in the knowledge that God was in control of all this, that she was calm and at peace?

While we can speculate, we do not know the answer to what exactly Mary was thinking about with regards the birth and life of the baby Jesus, but I would guess it was a mix of happiness and concern. What we do know though, is that she was obedient and faithful to what God had called her to do. Yes she might have had considerable concerns about what Jesus' future life would hold, and while they would not all be the same as our concerns for our children, future generations and the world, at the heart of all these concerns (Mary's and ours), is love -Love for family, love for one another including future generations we have not even met, love for the world and of course love for God.

So, whatever you are doing this Advent and Christmas time, and whatever concerns you might have in your lives at the moment, lay them down to God the loving Father of Christ and our loving Father too. Let us offer them to God in prayer, and after prayerful listening let us commit ourselves to acting in love. And, just as Mary's decisions revolved around loving Jesus as best she could, may our prayers, thoughts, decisions and actions this Christmas-time and always, also revolve around love; loving one another, loving ourselves, loving God's world and loving God.

With all best wishes and prayers for a peaceful Advent and a joyful Christmas season. May God our loving Father truly Bless you all this time and always,

Rev'd George

Prayer for the month:
God our loving Father,
whose blessed Son shared at Nazareth the life of an earthly home:
help your Church to live as one family,
united in love and obedience,
and may the light of faith illumine our hearts
and shine in our words and deeds,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.