Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope you are looking forward to this coming Christmas and New Year….

There are many reasons that we might say ‘no not really’, but I hope that this year, after all that happened in 2020 and 2021, we can say we are looking forward to a good and better Christmas and New Year.

There are many uncertainties at the moment, and more than we can remember than in the recent past (the cost of living crisis, the uncertainty in politics, the climate change dilemma and the various ongoing conflicts, most notably in Ukraine), but we do I think need to encourage each other that Christmas and the New Year is a great opportunity for remembering that there is lots of good and hope.

We might have forgotten how to be positive and be happy, but here is what I am looking forward to and I hope might be something that you can say as well:

First Family and Food – Christmas is a great opportunity to come together and celebrating. Spending time with family and enjoying some great food, is something we have all greatly missed, and so I say let’ s look forward to it and enjoy it! Feasts of food are one of the joys of life, and from a Christian perspective, a taster of the feast that we can experience with God in our life and, will do in heaven in the future. Christmas, in all its good aspects, is a taster of the Christian life.

Second, Friends and Fun – if Christmas has its focus mainly around family, then the New Year is when we often turn to spending time with friends and have some fun. We get together with friends, look back and look forwards, and have a party before beginning the hard work of the new year. Perhaps you might prefer a good and quiet night in?!, but I think it is nice to take the opportunity to meet up with some friends. Celebrating the end of a new year and the start of a new one with friends, is to remind us that we never need journey through life alone.

Third, Faith and the Future – if Christmas is about family and the New Year about friends, then over them all is having faith and the future. Faith is trusting that despite immediate circumstances, we can be sure that things will end well when we trust God who is in control. How can we know things will end well in the end? Christians believe we can know because God came to our world in the Jesus to save and help the world. There might still be battles to face, but Jesus has won the war over evil such that we have nothing to ultimately fear!

So how can we know a Happy Christmas and Happy New Year? It is just a question of trusting in the promises of Christmas:

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 14v14

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 12v1

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9v6

To hear more about how to have a Happy Christmas and a Happy New year, you would be welcome to join us for any of our forthcoming Christmas services listed in the Paris News, or why not join us for our forthcoming Alpha course starting in the new year – details also in the Parish News.

With my prayers that you will have and know a truly Happy Christmas and New Year

Revd James Hunt – St Peter’s, Bishop’s Waltham and Blessed Mary, Upham

24th November 2022

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