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From The Rectory February 2021

SIMON WARD 12-2018This year some people have tried to cling on to Christmas. While some households whipped their decorations down around about New Year time, others have left them up a bit longer: and why not? This year of all years, leaving something up in the house to bring a memory of warmth and happiness seems to be a great idea. While we continue to journey through a lockdown, we need every ounce of joy and encouragement to help us on our way
There is good reason to leave decorations up and this is not without   tradition. The reason to maintain the festive season is to carry on the celebration up to the Presentation of Christ in the Temple which falls each year on 2nd February, known as Candlemas. In many churches, including ours, the crib remains in place until that date which falls 40 days after Christmas Day. We have a beautiful ceramic crib set in our hallway and each time I pass it brings me a whiff of Christmas joy.  Candlemas has been described as one last look back at the infant before, all too soon, we are drawn to look towards the cross
Skip past Candlemas a couple of weeks and we can all enjoy the start of Lent! This month Ash Wednesday falls on 17th February when we will hear the story of Jesus tempted in the wilderness and we begin the 40 day journey (40 days again!) to Easter. Yes, it’s time to think about Lent once more. However, I sense that we’re not really looking for an opportunity to make our lives more restricted or more miserable this year so it is a good time to think about how we do Lent
There may be some habits acquired through lockdown which are not so good for us. Maybe we have found ourselves looking at a screen more and more and it may be a good idea to take time to occupy ourselves in other ways. Maybe our habits of exercise and movement need some thought. Maybe we’ve indulged poor choices regarding our diet this year. Lent could be helpful in respect of things like these
Lent can also be a time to develop useful and positive traits. A lot of our relationships have changed and we’ve fallen out of regular contact with those who matter to us: Make time to write, phone, email, or say hello to people we miss. Our habits of church attending and prayer may have changed: make time to ensure that a part of your day is spent with God. There are many in our community who have lost jobs or whose income has diminished: make time to understand and listen to the needs of others                        
Fr Simon
Rev Canon Simon Ward
Team Rector, Great Yarmouth Parish


this article also appeared in Parish Life


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