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Letters from Tim

Dear Friends,

This week we have to adjust yet again to new rhythms at the end of the second lockdown, and we are able to gather for worship again. I am sure that you need no reminding of the vital importance to maintain social distancing wash your hands and to wear your mask. 

The topic of conversations at the moment focus on ‘how are you going to spend your Christmas?’ Some will be working out whether to meet with other members of the family, or to choose to avoid extra prolonged contact.  The prospect of being in doors with the windows open, not able to play board games, is not very appealing! The extra layers of caution and having to assess the risks of our decisions are not easy. But some are choosing to play it safe and to postpone getting together until later next year. Nothing is straightforward.

Little was straightforward in the run up to the first Christmas for Jesus’ parents. A pregnancy out of wedlock, handling the reactions of the families and the wider community to the news, and having to follow the government’s latest rules about registration. In those days travelling was demanding and hazardous at the best of times, but in the last days of pregnancy, that was another thing. There was no social distancing in Bethlehem, it was heaving with people.

And thus God chooses to come among us, into our chaos, our anxiety, our uncertainty.  There was nothing predictable or safe about the birth of Jesus.  Indeed, the sound of Herod’s troops searching all the houses in the town and the slaughter of innocent children, is usually edited out of our sanitised versions of the story. Equally, the escape to Egypt and becoming a homeless political refugee, is not a cosy ending to that part of the tale.

It may be that as we approach our celebrations of the birth of Jesus, we face tricky choices. It may be a Christmas unlike any other. But that cannot take away the essence of the reality that God comes to us in the midst of our lives, to transform creation, to bring hope and light and to invite us to respond in our living and loving.

Peace

Tim


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