A Christmas Message from Father Neil


Credit crunch, financial uncertainty, tax cuts, tax rises, recession, unemployment… These are words which have become so commonplace in recent months. I can’t help being reminded of the hype and frenzy as the year 2000 approached. Planes were allegedly going to stop flying, computers would give up the ghost and so on. And, surprise surprise, Jan 1st came and the world carried on!
Living in difficult times is nothing new. Read the story of the Birth of Jesus. Mary and Joseph had no money to splash out on a fancy hotel room. The gifts brought to Jesus were special but didn’t cost an arm and a leg in John Lewis or Debenham's. If this current financial situation is as a result of our greed, as many claim, then perhaps the question to ask is not ‘what problems will we face?’ but ‘what lessons can we learn?’
Those who seek to keep hold of the true message of Christmas know that it is about Love. It is the love of God made visible in the person of Jesus Christ. We sing “with the poor and mean and lowly lived on earth our Saviour holy”. Perhaps if we are experiencing some feelings of poverty, hardship and depression this Christmas then we can be certain that we are exactly the kind of people Jesus came to live among.
Those who are able to ‘carry on spending’ will be those for whom the true message of Christmas hasn’t got through.
Perhaps we need to look at the way Christians are being persecuted in other parts of the world to realise that the Christian faith is something worth fighting for and standing up to defend. Christmas is not about wrapping paper, presents and spending more than the next door neighbour. It is about opening our hearts to the message of the angels: peace on earth and goodwill to all.
A warm welcome awaits you at both of our churches this Christmas. Come and share with us in the true message and meaning of Christmas. As the following verse reminds us, the true gift any of us can give this Christmas costs nothing at all!

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Follow this link for details of services over Christmastide at St Faith's and St Mary's

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