Welcome to St Mary the Virgin, Widdington
So Christmas will soon be upon with its festivities, shopping & trips to see family and friends.  I wonder how you are holding up.  For many Christmas is a difficult time of year as they struggle to celebrate without a loved one with them.  Christmas brings with it a multitude of stress, whether it be what to buy for someone, or running out of time with the shopping or what to cook on Christmas Day and on all of the days around it.  I recall that when I was younger mum would go out and get a mass of food in that looked like it was going to see us through to the new year.  I love Christmas and I have already started my Christmas shopping – indeed I’ve almost finished.  Just need to make time for wrapping parcels and arranging trips to see family & friends.  Sometimes I wonder how I am going to fit it all in.

Yet, despite how much I love Christmas, sometimes it is easy for the true celebration of Christmas to get lost.  It is not about the secular trappings of the season, although we love those things, but about a baby born in a stable over 2000 years ago.  The prophet Isaiah, whose words are recorded in the Old Testament which is before Jesus’ birth, tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  What does that mean for us?  Is it just about peace in the world, and a longed for hope of end to all conflict?  It is that, but it is also about something else.

It is about peace in our lives, and in the midst of all the arrangements, struggles, sadness & chaos that can be leading up to Christmas we could so with that peace.  Not only do I believe, but I know that Jesus can make a difference to our lives because he has made a difference to mine.  When things are difficult I pray, and the problem doesn’t always go away but I have the strength or temperament to cope. 

You can pray, but you can also come to church over the festive season.  There is the Carol Service, Crib Service or Christmas Morning services to come to in the village, or there is the Midnight Communion at Newport Church.  The times are elsewhere in this magazine.  I hope that I see you at one of those services, but I also hope & pray that you know the peace of the baby born in the stable.
Happy Christmas!  Neil