December Letter from Mat

It’s Advent! Which means it’s roughly 4 weeks to Christmas, or less if you’re reading this after 4th December. Someone on the staff team has already written their Christmas cards and I feel very unprepared for Christmas.

The government would like us to spend our way to Christmas and consume the credit crunch in a frenzy of presents and gifts. Many will spend next year paying for Christmas in more ways than one. Every year I have to remind myself that this is not what Christmas and Advent is all about. The gifts we cherish are not generally the ones that come in boxes.

In the past weeks we’ve said sad goodbyes to John Williams and Eileen Eades. They have been gifts in different ways to many people. Because of Christ they are now face to face with their Lord and Redeemer, released into full life in Him. What a gift to know that and to have known them! Their deaths are a reminder of the important gifts in life; gifts of relationships and love, gifts that we share with one another and especially with God.

Christmas is about the incredible gift of Godself to us in the form of Jesus and Advent is about preparation of self to receive afresh that wondrous gift of Christ.

So in the midst of the Christmas celebration preparations let’s not forget the One who we celebrate.

Can I encourage you through Advent to take some time to reflect on your life with God, perhaps using the Sunday evening reflective services to inspire you, maybe giving over a portion of an evening to be in God’s presence, to re-read the story from Luke of Jesus birth (Luke 2:1-20Open Link in New Window), or simply to be with God?

Perhaps you may also like to consider giving a gift to someone in need around the world through one of the mission agencies such as Tearfund, Oxfam or Christian Aid, maybe even considering whether to give in equal measure to family and friends and the poor around the world.

We have so many gifts to be thankful for, I pray that you will find Advent a gift from God, and be able to give to God through it as we prepare to receive Christ afresh again this Christmas. Have a blessed Advent.

Websites for Gifts for the poor
Oxfam Unwrapped http://www.oxfam.org.uk
through Tearfund http://www.livinggifts.org.uk
through Christian Aid http://www.presentaid.org

Mat

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