November 2011 The Minister's community letter

 Here we are in the middle of November already counting the days to Christmas.  For many this year Christmas will not be quite as joyous as they had hoped.  For some the prospect of unemployment, as well as rising heating prices, means there is a chill in more ways than one to our celebrations this year.   Our hearts go out to the bereaved, but this year we particularly remember those who have lost loved ones in car crashes just before the Christmas period.  It is a very hard thing to face at this time, and while there is rejoicing at the change of regime in Libya we also know that the price of freedom in places like Afghanistan and Iraq have been paid with the lives of beloved service people from this country. We will remember them on the 13th November this year One of the reasons why I am a Christian is because I am utterly convinced that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  For me, this means that death is not the end and there is hope for a better life beyond the grave for all those who put their trust in Him.   This year churches across the nation are putting together a special campaign entitled “Christmas begins with Christ”.  It is to remind us that at Christmastime we remember that Christ came into the world to give us hope; hope for a better family life as we share things together, but above all eternal hope for life beyond the grave.  I do hope you will support this campaign by coming to one of the many services we will be offering but also whenever you see a poster or see the phrase “Christmas begins with Christ” you will remember what it is really supposed to be about.   First of all, following on from our Shoebox Sunday which sent out almost a hundred shoeboxes filled with gifts to children in third world and eastern European countries so they could have a proper Christmas, we will be having a Christingle Service on Sunday 4th December at 10.30 a.m.  Christingle is a great occasion because not only does every child receive an orange and a candle, but the money raised goes to help those children in this country who have no homes.   We would also like to welcome you to our Service of Nine Lessons and Carols on 18th December     when, again in combination with churches across the country, we are going to attempt to break the world record for carol singing.  Although our service starts at 6.30 p.m., from 7.00 p.m. hundreds of thousands of churches will be singing various carols together for a fifteen minute period.  We will then take a count of the numbers who attend the service and this will be sent on to a national organisation who will claim the world record.  Why not be part of this unique and special occasion? On Christmas Eve we will be having our full set of Christmas celebrations but this year we will have two Crib Services one at 2:30pm and a second a 4:00pm as it is so popular. There will be tea coffee and cake served after each one.  

For us Christ is more than just a hope.  He can be a living reality in our lives.  Put your trust in Him and you will find Him to be the closest and best friend you could ever have.  He also wants us to look out for others.  As the paths freeze over and the winter winds get colder, please be on the look-out for your elderly friends, relatives and neighbours.  Even if you do not know them, why not take an opportunity this year to speak to them or even call on them to find out if they are o.k.  Also this is a very good time to help the elderly over the road and carry their shopping for them as the paths can be so slippery. 

Christmas is never just about us, it’s always about others; it’s always about Jesus.  Why not take the opportunity to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with Him and with others. With every good wish, Yours sincerely, Revd. Canon Jonathan Ford.Minister Christ Church Moreton Hall