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Dec 23/Jan 24 Clergy Letter

Christmas is coming! At least if you read this in the first part of December.

My hope is that you are able to enjoy the traditional activities of Christmas – celebrating with family and friends but maybe taking a glance at the reason we have this festival time. For Christians, Christmas is when we give thanks for the central event of our faith - God coming among us in the baby at Bethlehem. Maybe it seems an attractive story, but one that speaks also of deprivation, of homelessness and exile. Such themes have echoes in today’s world with the traumatic events in Jesus’ homeland, in Ukraine and so many other places.

In Advent we look forward both towards the coming of Jesus as a human being – as one of us – and towards God summing up all things in him. In January we have the season of ‘Epiphany’ (or revelation), less prominent in this country, when we mark the coming of the Wise Men and other events in the Bible like Jesus being taken to the Temple to give thanks for his birth and then his

baptism. All these are part of God revealing his love and care for humanity. We are invited to play our part in revealing God’s light and love by relieving the inequalities in our own times and communities.

As we share together at this time, let us remember the words from the beginning of John’s Gospel, our theme for this year’s Christmas services across our Benefice –

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it”. (John 1 v.5)

The Light is Jesus whose coming and ongoing presence we celebrate. We are all invited to share in this flow of God’s love in the world – to carry God’s light into its dark corners.

As part of this I have many things to be thankful for – I will mark 40 years in the Christian ministry at the beginning of December - most of those years whilst also working as a GP. The past 8 years working with the churches of the Benefice and more recently with Wistanswick United Reformed Church. I am particularly grateful for the support of my family and those in the churches I have worked with so that together we have been able, in a small way, not only to speak about God’s love as we know it in Jesus, but to be helped to live out that love in our daily lives. So, a big thank you to so many – and I hope you all have a very happy Christmas and New Year (and Epiphany!).

Rev Marcus Griffiths


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