I love a party! The chance to get together with friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, and to celebrate together.
One of the aspects I enjoy most about having a party is the preparation, the joyful creation of an occasion that I hope people will enjoy. The food and drinks, the lighting, the music, decoration, inside or outside. How best can those who come enjoy the party to the full? In what ways can each person feel as welcomed and precious as possible?
We can look back over the years to significant birthdays of those we know across our villages, to treasured memories, cherished people and joyful times. At All Saints’ we have been celebrating some special people, precious friends moving to pastures new and others celebrating milestone birthdays!
We will of course be celebrating another significant birthday this month: Jesus Christ born 2000 years ago. This is a birthday party that we’re all invited to, which in fact many of us will be celebrating. I hope you will feel welcomed in our churches, whether Harlton or Haslingfield this Christmas and that we might celebrate together. That we might encounter the one whom we celebrate and be reminded that through the festivities we are all welcomed, precious, and offered life in its fulness through God incarnate, Jesus Christ.
I also know that this time can be a bittersweet or painful time, and quite difficult to entertain the thoughts of parties or celebrating. Again, I hope that we may be communities offering a ready welcome and life-giving presence to those for who this time is really difficult.
I pray that as we anticipate and plan for the celebrations of the Christmas season, we embrace Advent first – a time of expectant waiting and preparation. May we not rush on, too busy to get to the party, but take joy in the preparation and be mindful of who invites us and who we welcome this year.
Much love and peace this Christmas