Minister’s Message

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

As you read this you will have already seen Christmas decorations adorning homes, shops and high streets; why? Because, as Andy Williams famously sang, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’.

The reason is because we celebrate the Incarnation that great mystery of the Christian faith that ‘God is with us’. Some have, in the past, tried to suppress this message whilst focussing on the festivities only, often under the banner of ‘not causing offence’.

Ben Stein, an American writer, lawyer, actor, and commentator on political and economic issues and a practising Jew explains why he isn’t offended at all by Christmas.

“My wife and I celebrate Christmas, big-time. I am sure we have more decorations than anyone within miles of here.

Why? On a superficial level, it’s because the lights and tree and fire are festive. That’s innate. Man loves coloured lights and fires. When I was a child in Maryland, the Gentiles had festive lights and we Jews didn’t. I didn’t like that. I saw no reason why the Gentiles should have all the fun and I still don’t. Having those lights and a tree — that’s what I always wanted — to have coloured lights and to be a part of the dominant culture.

But I love Christmas for much more basic reasons. Christmas is about something huge. You can be saved if you simply make a contract to believe in God and (some add) if you act right. It has nothing to do with how you were born or into what tribe.

This is a revolutionary, stupendous freeing of the human spirit. This is why Christmas is such a joyous time for people, whether Jews or Christians, or anyone else, who want to believe that we humans can be forgiven and go on to lead lives of triumph no matter what has happened in our past.

That, and not shopping at all, not the retail numbers, is why Christmas is such a great time.

The lights are nice and the tree is nice and the shopping is nice. But a dominant culture that says that love and peace are the highest values — that’s what I want to honour.

We don’t honour retail sales numbers. We honour the spirit of forgiveness and love.

That’s Christmas for me. Merry Christmas.”

We have an amazing message to share with our communities regardless of their religious beliefs or lack of it. It’s the message that God is with us, not just in the birth of a baby 2,000 years ago, but now, the here and now, ready, as Stein says, to save us, forgive us and love us. What a thing to celebrate.

Heather and I wish you every blessing this Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

God Bless.

Jeff

Christian Aid and Commitment For Life

“I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2 v18)

 Here at Prenton URC we show our faith by what we do in various ways including our support for Christian Aid, Commitment for Life, the Foodbank, Macmillan and Operation Christmas Child to name but a few.

COMMITMENT FOR LIFE

In addition to the annual Christian Aid week held in May, another way of supporting Christian Aid is through Commitment for Life which offers regular contributions rather than a yearly contribution. Some of our church members already do and remain faithful in their giving.

Giving this way helps Christian Aid plan ahead knowing they will receive regular donations. But whatever way you choose to give can I ask you to consider reviewing your giving.

This programme was adopted by General Assembly to encourage all United Reformed Churches and Local Ecumenical Partnership churches to take action, pray and give for people across the world. Commitment for Life churches are linked through Christian Aid and Global Justice Now (previously the World Development Movement) to campaigns, partners and projects in Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Israel & the Palestinian Territory and Central America.

It’s an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.

Thank you!

Heather