Christmas celebrations draw to a close and we begin to take up the threads of everything that has been on hold over the holiday.
Schools, offices and Parliament return to where they left off and Britain re-engages with the uncertainties of its political and economic future. It might seem as though nothing has changed in the meantime, but countless people have been marking Christmas and the birth of someone who makes everything different.
Parents’ lives are changed for ever by the birth of a child. Every trip requires the packing of bottles, nappies, changing kit, teddies, soothers and so on. In time, that gives way to the world of nurseries, schools, and sports clubs and then colleges, universities and so on. The birth of Jesus, though, did not simply affect his parents. It changed the lives of fishermen, soldiers and tax collectors and by the time of his death he had half Jerusalem in uproar. Stained glass windows hold pictures of saints - people whose lives were still being interrupted and turned upside down centuries after his death.
Every generation, every New Year sees more people challenged and changed by the life, death and teaching of the enigmatic character whose birth many have celebrated over Christmas. While the Christmas break may not have changed your opinion on Brexit, Jesus continues to challenge and change the way we think about politics and politicians, and the way we think about immigrants, refugees, homeless people and all for whom life is hard.
Faith Matters News:
2019 – Year of Vocation
In Sussex, the Church of England is making 2019 the Year of Vocation. As this new year gets under way, the Bishop of Chichester will be commissioning dozens of lay people from across East and West Sussex to serve in their local parishes in running children’s work and providing pastoral care. These new lay ministers will be commissioned in Chichester Cathedral on Sunday 13th January during the 11am Eucharist.
Happy Epiphany – and Orthodox Christmas
This coming Sunday is the Feast of the Epiphany, when churches will be remembering the mysterious wise men who came to pay homage to the Christ child. But as we prepare to put away the tinsel and decorations for another year, our Christian brothers and sisters from Greece, Russia, the Middle East and other parts of the world will be getting ready to celebrate Christmas day on Monday 7th January. Happy Christmas to our Orthodox and Coptic communities here in Sussex!