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The United Benefice of Withington, Sevenhampton with Charlton Abbots, Hawling, Whittington, Dowdeswell and Andoversford, Shipton and Cold Salperton

This month's letter from the clergy

Long time ago, in Bethlehem…..

Dear friends,

I am writing this Christmas article just after the Remembrance weekend. We had great numbers at our own services and there was a huge amount of creative and information aspects on television and locally. We have all been made to reflect seriously about an event that took place one hundred years ago. There had never been an event like the First World War and it changed the nature of warfare for ever even if, sadly, it was not the war to end all wars.

It has struck me that Christmas itself is an act of Remembrance. For all of us I suspect Christmas has strong traditions and aspects caught up with how we celebrated Christmas when growing up. When we do marriage preparation one question we encourage couples to consider is how they will celebrate Christmas because there can be such different expectations about how it is best done.

And, of course, the heart of the Christmas story is an event in history. An event like no other. An event which still has an impact on the world today. An event that can impact each of us personally if we let it. The birth, not just of any child, but of a child who was, at the same time, the Creator of the Universe. A child who grew up to live the most extra-ordinary life and then died the most extra-ordinary death -  but then came back to life. Christians are his followers and have found that following him is the best, though not the easiest, way to live.

Why not join us at one of our special Christmas services to reflect more upon the birth of Jesus. We assure you that you will be made most welcome…… and then in February we have a whole weekend entitled ‘Life in all its fullness’ when we shall have a variety of special events with the Bishop of Gloucester and a team of Curates and when we can hear stories of the different faith makes to life. There is a whole page later on in the magazine with more information on this.

    A Happy Christmas to you all,