December Letter from Revd. PitcherNovember 22, 2019
I was watching the start of the Rugby world cup a few days ago. One of the commentators said that it would be a real boost for our country to win because we have had such a difficult year. And then we lost.
2019 does feel to have been a difficult year. Paralysis over Brexit, growing awareness and concern about climate change, woes on the nation’s high streets and continued violence in Syria are all features that have troubled us. We did win the cricket world cup!
As 2019 draws to a close we will be hoping and praying that the General Election opens the door to a brighter 2020, but only if there is a fundamental change in the way we treat each other, and if we learn to disagree well.
A troubled outlook for the nation and a hope for a brighter future were features that loomed large in the public consciousness when Jesus was born in Bethlehem 2000+ years ago. The people of Israel felt lost in their own land because of the Roman occupation. The poor struggled with low incomes and punitive taxes. There was religious tension between peoples of different faiths and a fear that God was absent.
Into this very human melting pot of hopes and fears the Christ child was born. He did not come as a new powerful force either in politics or in military terms. He did not make promises that could not be kept. He did not come in a big display of self importance. Instead Jesus was born unnoticed, in poverty, as a vulnerable baby. God offered himself to those who might love him, and took the risk of not being loved at all. Embraced first by his mother, then by Joseph, then by his disciples and friends, the love of God began to bring new hope, new life, one heart at a time.
In our generation that invitation is renewed. St Paul describes love in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13. Love is patient, kind, truthful, hopeful. Love is not envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, irritable or resentful. Winning the world cup would not have changed us much in the long term. Love might, because it has the power to inspire us. As we celebrate his birth may the love of Christ bless you this Christmas. May we walk together in the light of his love and share together in a bright new year.
Yours in Christ