By Revd. Neil Lambert
I think I might not be alone in looking back and feeling that 2022 has been the fastest passing year yet? We have experienced some dizzying highs— gathering together again after Covid restrictions lifted, celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee both in Ash Vale and in London on The Mall, and the women’s football team’s international victory—just to name a few. In stark contrast to these highs, there have been deep and difficult lows too, with the outbreak of war in the Ukraine, the impacts on all of us of climate change, Her Majesty’s passing, the difficulties we face in coping with the increasing cost of living, political uncertainty, and deep personal losses including some very precious friends within our church community. Certainly 2022 is a year we will not forget.
Whatever life throws at us, Jesus is here for us, and Christmas is a very special time that reminds us that He understands. He came to earth as a vulnerable little child —both fully God and fully human— to join us in our highs and lows, and not just tell us, but personally show us, the way back to a good relationship with God. I pray we can all take a step closer to Him this Christmas, and enjoy the blessings that brings.
As some of you may know, I am following the work of Waldensian church in Italy at the moment—a study project I chose for my Sabbatical—to bring fresh inspiration to my ministry. These churches have much to share with us, especially their expertise in working together with other churches, reaching out to the poor, and having compassion for refugees. I would love to tell you more about it. Why not come along to the St Nicholas Lantern Walk on 10th December or our Christingle event on Christmas Eve and say hello, or have a chat after the Carols by Candlelight over a mince pie. I hope to see you soon! (diary dates are all on the what’s on page)
Wishing you, your families and neighbours every blessing, and a peaceful Christmas.
St Mary’s Church, Vale Rd, Ash Vale, GU12 5JE
We would like to thank artist Daniel Austin for our beautiful Christingle cover image.