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Pastoral Letter - Dec 17 - Feb 18

I wonder which is your favourite time of year? For some people it’s the long and hopefully warm sunny days of summer, others like the promise of spring, or the glorious colours of autumn, and for others it’s the crisp, bright, chilliness of winter which gives them energy. You may have guessed from what I’ve written that there are aspects of each of the seasons which I enjoy and which inspire me. For me, each season has more challenging aspects too, but let’s not dwell on these!

This edition of our Link magazine sees us not only moving into winter but also into the periods of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Covenant and the beginning of Lent – that’s quite a lot to squeeze in to just three months! Just as the different meteorological and calendar seasons prompt us to think about particular events and activities, so too do the seasons of our Christian year. The cycle of the seasons is also helpful in developing and maintaining the spiritual rhythm of our lives as individuals and as church families, something we’re exploring throughout the year as a Circuit, focussing on the practices of pray, give thanks, keep silence, read and reflect, and act and it is the last of these which we will focus on in our Circuit Advent Service.

I really enjoy Advent with its sense of reflection and anticipation, and of course preparation, but not in the sense of writing hundreds of lists of things to do and to buy in order to ensure that Christmas celebrations are complete. Whilst I am a big fan of lists the preparation and anticipation of Advent is something quite different: A time to learn, or re-learn, what it means to wait and, as Paula Gooder so eloquently expresses it, in so doing to “live deeply and truly in the present moment [so that we can be] joyfully and fully present in the now.

When we can do that I think we can be most truly aware of God’s presence, God’s love and God’s promptings. Whether this is a time of year which brings you joys, challenges, indifference or even a little of all of these, I pray you will know God’s love for you afresh each new day.

 

Sarah Parkin