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AN Update from teresa

Dear Friends,

My Ramblings from the Rectory begin by celebrating the New Year and I find that exciting! Wait a minute, I hear you cry! What do you mean, ‘New Year’? It’s only December! And you’d be right in terms of our ordinary calendar. But I’m excited about the start of the new church year – the liturgical calendar. This began on Sunday 27th November – an auspicious date this year for two reasons. The first, a personal reason, is that my second child had his 30th birthday and, more importantly for the church, it was Advent Sunday.

The season of Advent heralds a time of watching and waiting; watching for a star and waiting for the birth of a special baby; a time that lets us remember how truly amazing it must have been for Mary and Joseph as they travelled to Bethlehem for the census and for us to journey with them too as we learn again about God coming to earth in the form of a baby born into poverty.

I can never lose sight of the wonder of Advent despite the commercialism of Christmas frequently meaning that the birth of Christ is not even mentioned. It is heartening therefore to know that whilst the children in the villages eagerly make lists of presents, open Advent calendars, decorate trees, watch festive movies and visit Father Christmas, they also learn about the true meaning of Christmas. There is still wonder in the nativity story.

In the schools, the children learn, not just the story of Christmas, but what it means to Christians today. They learn to make Christingles and light them in their collective worship, rehearse and perform nativity plays and learn carols.

‘Christmas is for children’ is a phrase I often hear. Yes it is and as a child of God, I fully embrace and celebrate it! Even when there have been Christmases that have included sadness, I have still sought to look for that awe and wonder. For me it is about the importance of the season that transcends just one or two days and takes us beyond, lifts us and encourages us to take our hopes and fears and find a way to trust that God is there for us all.

I really am a big kid though when it comes to all the services at Christmas. I’ve taken part in them all since being a teenager and my own children, now grown, still go to church on Christmas Eve afternoon because, to them, it properly starts Christmas. Christmas Messy Church, Carol singing in the villages, Carol services in the churches, Christingle and Crib services on Christmas Eve, Midnight Communion and Christmas Day worship with Communion – the anticipation is real and I am so delighted to that our benefice offers all these things too. I, and the team, look forward to welcoming you to some or all of them.

I know I can’t end without giving you an update on the rectory garden. Nic is still beavering away, clearing and preparing soil for the kitchen garden, marking out where flowering plants have been this year and whether he wants them again and where, and in recent weeks, clearing huge amounts of leaves from the grass. It is not uncommon to see Nic outside, even in wet weather, pottering about doing something. And if he can’t be there, he is reading and planning and thoroughly enjoying himself. He too is part of the watching and waiting season.

I feel there are parallels in how I see the villages in the benefice and the rectory garden. There is a sense of opening up, for the potential for something to grow, a new energy and a continuation of the building of relationships. We watch and we wait in this season but always with our eyes looking ahead to the new. As our garden continues to flourish under Nic’s careful supervision, I hope and pray that in our villages, we will also continue to flourish, as church and community, together. That is definitely worth getting excited about.

With every blessing


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