Christmas 2010

Christmas 2010

May the Joy of Christmas be with you all, whatever your situation! And, may the Christ child find a place to rest at the centre of your heart and celebrations!

I want to make it clear that this is what Christmas is all about… it is, in fact Christ’s Mass! I am happy to abide by the rules of political correctness in most areas… I sincerely believe that every person has the right to be called by whatever title he or she chooses, and I believe that, as Christians we should strive to treat every person with respect, regardless of race, creed, age, gender or sexual orientation. This is living according to Christ’s law of love.

BUT… I refuse to call Christmas the “holiday/festive season”, or to send “holiday” greetings and “festive” gifts. I make no apology for my belief, or my stance on the matter. No one knows the exact date of the birth of Christ though there have been many attempts at calculation, according to the evidence at hand. However, for the last 2000 years (approximately… give or take a decade) Christians of most denominations have celebrated the birth of Christ on the 25th of December.

If you are into the Internet simply type the words  “the date of Christmas” into your “search engine”, press “ENTER” and you will find a plethora of articles on the subject.

One helpful site/article I found is www.ancient-future.net/christmasdate.html but there are plenty of others.

Regardless of how or why the date was selected, it has been accepted for a couple of thousand years… and for me the date is not nearly as important as the event we commemorate and celebrate. “

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

So … JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD IS COME!!

Blessings,

Reverend Shan

Advent 4/ 19th December 2010

Every year, I vow to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.  I organise myself, make lists, and have cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, and decorating. I even try to cut back on spending on gifts… but it never happens… … somehow I always still rushing at the last minute.

I still find myself exhausted, and I have to make a concerted effort to appreciate precious moments with God, with family and friends, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

In the end, all our business and, perhaps even the gift giving get in the way of our true peace and joy at Christmas. I think the Grinch said it best:

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,

Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”

“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!”

“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”

“Maybe Christmas. . . perhaps. . means a little bit more!”

Dr. Suess

Advent Blessings to you all as you prepare a place for Jesus in your festivities … and your hearts.

Reverend Shan

Advent 3- 12th December 2010

As I sat to write my reflection for this week I was feeling tired and run down with hay fever, and a bit overwhelmed as I contemplated our parish budget and the inequity between income and expenditure.

Anyway, I was ripe for a bit of wisdom and encouragement, sent on by a friend.

‘Maybe we’ve been overwhelmed lately because we’ve been letting too much of yesterday and tomorrow become a part of our today. There’s no need for us to live regretting yesterday’s disappointments or to live in fear of tomorrow’s challenges. Psalm 118:24 says; “This is the day that the Lord has made. We are to rejoice and be glad in it.” God promises in His Word that… “Our strength will equal our days!” C’MON!’ (John via Polly)

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.” 
- anonymous

The last week has brought many new people, unexpectedly, into my life and sphere of ministry. Life is unpredictable. It brings many changes, so we need to cherish today, live it to the best of our ability, because the difference we make today will shape the future for others and ourselves.

May your week be full of unexpected opportunities,

Many, many blessings

Shan

Advent 2 – 5th December 2010

On Tuesday we celebrated the feast of St Andrew. Andrews feast day is dear to me as it also marks the 17th Anniversary of my ordination as a deacon, and the 16th Anniversary of my ordination as a priest.

Little is known of Andrew save that he was one of the inner core of disciples who journeyed with, and was commissioned by, Jesus. We also know that he was brother to Peter, and apparently was instrumental in Peter’s introduction to Jesus.

Andrew was also instrumental in sharing the good news, beyond the borders of his homeland. Certainly, we recognise him as one of those who laid the foundations for our faith.

As Paul writes – For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)

Andrews’s celebration brings to mind the work of missionaries today… who step far beyond their home shores in order to proclaim the gospel.

In this season of Advent, there is ample evidence that the doors of St Paul’s also open onto a vast missionary field. We tend to forget that many who pass by our doors so not know the gospel, and have little understanding of the true significance of Christmas.

Who will share the gospel with them? Who will introduce them to Jesus? What about the people in your own street? Perhaps they are only waiting for an invitation. You know, it can be very hard to take the first step on your own.

How many of your neighbors are waiting for a little bit of timely information, in order to decide to come along to worship this Christmas?

We have printed leaflets inviting people to worship with us at Christmas time. They have been placed in the porch… awaiting distribution. Please take some and place them in a few letterboxes in your area. Perhaps it could be said of you “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news.”

Many Blessings

Rev Shan