Revd Louise Williams shares her occasional thoughts with us.
This comes with my love and best wishes, for Christmas and the New Year. I’m looking forward to seeing many visitors to our special services in the coming weeks. Let me especially encourage you to come along on December 15th to St Andrew’s. In the afternoon, from 1pm, we will have candles in the church for you to light in memory of a loved one. At 3.30pm there will be a short Memorial Service. Christmas can be such a very poignant time of the year for those missing a loved one. Do feel the churches are there for you to come, to remember and grieve and ask God for comfort.
Recently we had the pleasure of welcoming our new Bishop of Bradwell, John Perumbalath, to a service of Confirmation, at St Peter’s. We had 6 candidates from the parish and were joined by members of other local churches. It was a joyful and moving occasion. The candidates ranged in ages but most were in their 30s. They came from different backgrounds, different jobs, different parts of the country, different church backgrounds. Some had grown up in Christian families and are making their way back to trust in God. Some had no experience of faith in God and it has come as a real surprise…but a good one!
For each person who was confirmed in their commitment to Christ, there has been a growing awareness that God is with us each and every day. A growing understanding that faith isn’t a list of things we do or don’t believe. That following Jesus isn’t about a list of things we may or may not do. They are coming to know the presence of God in their everyday lives; they are coming to believe that Jesus is both their friend and their saviour. They are making wonderful new discoveries about the love and generosity of God. They are also finding that God will graciously lift burdens of guilt, fear and sadness when they hand them over to him.
I wonder if you have experienced the love and kindness of God in your life? Have you asked him to help you in the struggles and challenges of each day? Have you thought about coming to church throughout the year and actively trying to find out more about this faith that gives such hope and joy?
In the New Year we will be running a short, 6 week Pilgrim Course which introduces you to the basics of the Christian faith. Why not make it your New Years’ resolution to find out more about Jesus Christ and what it means to follow in his way?
This Christmas, I pray that you will experience the truth that God is with us. The birth in the stable is the picture of a God who doesn’t stand far off, who isn’t fussy about where he is and who he is with. It is the truth of a God who is for all people and who came in Jesus, to share our lives.