I think a constant thread through my blogs this year has been how quickly the time seems to be flying by! I can’t believe I am writing the December edition!! The year us almost over, we are well into the Christmas countdown and the festivities are beginning. Amid the busyness of this season its always good to take time out, to stop and reflect on the real meaning of Christmas and what that means in an ever changing world.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, interestingly as my work load has increased I’ve increasingly found the need to retreat to a quiet place and reflect. This was after all the pattern that Jesus gave us. We so often see him take himself to a quiet place during a busy or significant time in his ministry. I encourage you to do the same.

During my reflections I have once again seen the importance of Christmas as a time of new beginnings. For Mary and Joseph, everything was new – I’m sure they would have been overwhelmed (like any first time parent) as the magnitude of caring for a newborn baby hit home. It would have been lot of firsts for them!

As Jesus came into the world over 2000 years ago we are reminded of the miracle of birth and of life itself. What a gift it is, ‘life in all its fulness’ (John 10:10). I always look upon any new born baby in wonder and amazement – what an awesome God we worship, who is able to create such a tiny miracle! In that stable all those years ago, God himself became the tiny miracle and entered his world. A new birth! 30 years later he would be saying to Nicodemus that in order to inherit the kingdom of heaven we must be ’born again’ (John 3).

It’ll soon be new year, another link to new beginnings, the old year with all its trials and tribulations has drawn to a close and the new one is about to begin. A new year- I wonder how many times you have made a new years resolution, accompanied by the phrase ‘this year will be different…’

Its this time of year that we are bombarded with adverts on the TV regarding our lifestyles. I wonder how many of us will take out new gym memberships in the coming weeks? Will it be a ‘New year – New You’ How many times have we heard that!

At St. Anne’s, this Christmas marks a new beginning as we welcome Matt Davis, his wife Lis and their 3 years old son James. Matt is our new curate and will be serving full time until 2020. We are really excited about Matts ministry look forward to getting to know the whole family in the coming weeks and months.

So what does this all mean for us? Well simply, the invitation of Christmas is that Christ came into the world to offer us the gift of new life, to be born again through his Spirit. That we might experience life in all its fulness (perhaps for the first time), that through Gods work in our lives it would indeed be a new year – new you! All these things become a reality for those who ask Christ into their hearts. Indeed that is what his name ‘Immanuel’ means ‘God with us’ (dwelling in our hearts)

The greatest gift you could receive this year would be the gift of accepting Jesus as your Saviour. I wonder have you received this free gift?

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