Dear friends,

Warm greetings in the name of Christ our Hope.

Our double edition (December and January) ofChronicle brings us face to face with the joy of advent and Christmas and the prospect of the new year. As we move into advent which is the season that launches the Christian year, we are still uncertain as to exactly how we will be able to worship and celebrate the greatest gift of all – the gift of Jesus Christ to the world. Nevertheless, we are anticipating being able to be together for physical gatherings for worship and so we have a pretty busy diary for December.

On the 23rd, 24th and 25th December, there will be acts of worship including a service of Holy Communion for Christmas, a Christmas Eve act of worship, and a Christmas morning service of worship and celebration. I hope you will feelable to join us for at least one of those times of worship. Much effort is also being put into the organisation of a Christmas Café Church which I believe will be rather special. That is on the 13th December and details about it are contained elsewhere in Chronicle.

Inside your Chronicle there is a really inspiring booklet which has been produced by Hope Together.This is an ecumenical body that promotes mission.The booklet is aimed at offering hope in these uncertain times. I think you will find it extremely helpful and encouraging. You may like to consider passing it onto a friend or neighbour after you have read it. Alternatively, you could put it inside a Christmas card you are posting to someone. The booklet includes short words of testimony from personalities like Mary Berry and Bear Grylls. We have about 60 spare copies of this booklet, so if you would like another copy, please let me know. Churches will be seeking to share a clear message of hope to our nation this Christmas. This is one way to do that. Christ is the doorway to hope!

As a Church, we are also producing a specially designed Christmas card with a positive message of hope which will be delivered to lots of homes close to ourChurch building. We are also hoping it may be possible to have an attractiveChristmas tree lit up outside the Church this year. The light of Christ is with us and will shine out! Jesus is the Everlasting Light! Our advent wreath will help build within us anticipation, hope, faith, joy and love during our times of worship. God’s eternal promises of hope lie behind the lighting of each candle.

At a time when some people may be asking the question, “Where is God?” – we can point to both a manger and a cross. The Eternal Word of God became flesh (John 1:14). Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us, God among us. As Graham Kendrick wrote in one of his Christmas songs, “Uncreated light shines through infant eyes.” God sent forth his Son as Saviour at just the right time (Galatians 4:4).

May the God of hope fill you with hope and peace as you draw near to the manger to worship, and as you offer the gift of your life in the service of the new-born King.

Yours in the love of Jesus,

Peter

The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has now appeared to us. (1 John 1:2)