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The Rockin' Rev December 2021


What a Christmas!

The Bethlehem manger, shepherds, wise men, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph – it’s all so familiar to older people, who are shocked to hear that younger generations may be hazy or ignorant of them
Yet, what 21st Century Christians proclaim as arguably the most significant event in history, began in a remote corner of the Roman Empire, without the pomp and publicity we associate with kingship and power. What modern media have called ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’, escaped everyone’s attention in first century Judea
This year, Christmas is going to be a busier celebration than last year, but probably not yet back to the normal fuss we usually make each December
The streets will be more crowded, but it’s feared that shops may struggle with supplies. Parties will take place, but many people will feel reluctant to join in. Family gatherings are allowed again, but the vulnerable may hesitate. Christmas services will be held in church buildings, but singing has the potential for droplet and aerosol transmission
Because of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 many will struggle to hold their ‘usual’ Christmas. Yet God does not neglect us. This may be the very opportunity to rekindle or deepen our faith in what really matters about Christmas
Away from the hordes, perhaps completely alone this Christmas, we may sit quietly and allow our heavenly Father to draw near to us
We may picture Mary inviting us to gaze with her at her son who was born to be Saviour. In the silence of our imagination, we may join the chorus of angels announcing His birth to the shepherds:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests”
It was that chorus which inspired an American Minister, Edmund Sears, to write the Christmas hymn ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’. Sears, troubled by the world’s turbulent history and failure to hear the Christmas message, was himself recovering from a breakdown. Written in 1849, his words have a timeless ring about them, making them as relevant today as when they were first written:

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
Oh, hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing

Wishing you a happy Christmas

Rev Brian Hall

Vicar, St Andrew’s Church


also published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine


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