I start this month’s Team Rector’s letter with a small confession! .......

Team Rector’s Letter                                   December 2019

I start this month’s Team Rector’s letter with a small confession!  I confess to you that inspiration for the December epistle did not strike me immediately. As you will know, articles for the parish magazines have to be submitted well in advance, so now, in early November, I don’t feel ready to think about Christmas quite yet. Faced with a blank computer screen, with no inspiration forthcoming to my poor brain, in order to get myself thinking, I turned to the internet for ideas – trying to find out what other ministers had written last year for their December messages.

After some fruitless searching, I came across a minister’s letter on a church website in the United States. And it told me that their church’s Christmas theme for December 2018 was “AT LAST...NOEL”.  I liked that phrase very much, and it gave me the inspiration I needed!

In the busy run-up to Christmas, many of us will comment “Oh no! Christmas already, where did the year go?  I have so much to do to get ready, so little time to get everything done... ”

Probably it’s only small children who would actually say...

“AT LAST! Christmas is here!” We sing the carol ‘The First Noel’ (or Nowell!) and I discovered that it originated in Cornwall.

The words of the first verse that we use today are: -

The first Nowell the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
In fields where they lay, keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter's night that was so deep:

The carol tells us that very First Noel came to the poor, the marginalised, the down-trodden. It broke into their actual and metaphorical darkness. The message of the angels was the fulfilment of many years of longing for the coming of the promised Messiah. The world was troubled, the darkness seemed overwhelming. Where was the hope? But AT LAST the promise was fulfilled, the time had come, the Christ-Child was born.

The world now, like the world then, needs hope. The simple message of ‘Noel’ can bring us the inspiration we so desperately need, new energy, and a fresh new perspective. At last Noel – the end to our searching.

In the midst of the darkness, the confusion, Jesus is still the Light of the World. As you enter into this Christmas season, don’t let these eternal truths get choked out by the busyness of the season. God still breaks into a world of need, the message of hope is still spoken, the warmth of God’s love still comes into the cold places and melts the cold hearts.

Now, as then, we need Christmas, we need hope, we need Jesus

At Last! Noel!

Reverend Ren Harding (Team Rector)

contact me at Joydens Wood Vicarage,

6 Tile Kiln Lane, Joydens Wood, Bexley, DA5 2BB        

01322-528923                            renharding@hotmail.co.uk

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