From the Rector
During the next few weeks it is almost inevitable that you will hear the words “Christmas is a time for the family”. Our earliest memories of Christmas are formed by our family traditions and practices. As children, most of us will remember the excitement of waiting to discover what Santa Claus had brought us. In our house, I recall that Santa had a fondness for Fanta and cookies, which were left out on Christmas Eve. In the morning we were delighted to see, along with the presents, a plate of cookie crumbs and a partially drunk bottle of Fanta.
Our family had other Christmas traditions, such as eating a Christmas pudding (a steamed fruit cake) stuffed with coins. You don’t hear of people doing this nowadays, but for a child it was a easy way of making money, provided you could separate the coins from the pudding. This tradition may have died out for health reasons, as occasionally a coin would go down with the pudding, which was a cause of discomfort to the person who had inadvertently swallowed it.
“Christmas is a time for the family”. However, as I grew older, I began to see other versions of the “family” which gathers at Christmas. An elderly retired priest and his sister inviting single members of the congregation to join them for Christmas dinner. A shelter for the homeless, staffed by volunteers, offering Christmas dinners to those who had lost contact with their own families and who had nowhere else to go. A church having a Christmas meal in the parish hall, with the loneliest members of the congregation, together with non-church members from the community.
Traditions come and go but the underlying Christmas spirit of love and generosity continues to encourage us to find new ways of celebrating Christ’s birth. Throughout the changing patterns of family life at Christmas, one thing remains as constant as the star which led the Wise Men to the Christ-child: it is the love of God for humankind, and our need to open our hearts to receive him at Christmas.
I wish you and all those whom you love a peaceful and joyous Christmas. I invite you to join us at the Church of the Redeemer in our celebration of the birth of Jesus, and receive God’s best gift of all, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Peace, love and joy