It’s no coincidence that our annual celebration of the coming of the Light of Christ falls in the darkest weeks of the year. The message of Christmas is one of great joy; but it comes to a world in darkness. As a reminder, the traditional Christian calendar marks the Slaughter of the Holy Innocents just days after Christmas Day. ‘The light shines in the darkness’, John’s Gospel tells us. The good news is that ‘the darkness did not overcome it’.
This year many Christians around the world will be marking Christmas at a time of darkness and our prayers are with them. We are so fortunate by comparison. And yet we have our own sadness this Christmas. Our ‘Carols by Candlelight’ service on Sun 15 December is followed on Mon 16 December by a service of Thanksgiving (2 pm) for Michael Burns, a longstanding member of our congregation and a friend to many of us.
The service will be one of thanksgiving. And yet it’s inevitable we feel sadness at his passing. Michael knew he was dying and faced it with remarkable courage and resilience. ‘You don’t spend your life working as an actuary’ he told me, ‘without realising we all must die one day. I’ve had a good life.’
I wish you all a holy and special Christmas. Do join us for one of our special services.