UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
Craig’s letter for December 2019
Revd Craig Bowman
It's almost here; the time for which we seem to have been waiting so long.
For some among us that time is the start of my ministry with St Andrew's and Wallington United Reformed Churches, for others it is the Christmas season.
Whichever it is for you take a moment to realise that where we have actually arrived is Advent!
Many of us are already caught up in the busyness of preparing for Christmas. The shops have had their Christmas offerings on display for weeks (f not months) now, Christmas lights are all lit up in town centres and illuminations are springing up on many houses, carols and Christmas songs arc regularly heard in shopping centres and individual shops, office and club Christmas 'dos' are taking place with increasing frequency, and the Christmas cards are beginning to arrive.
The world around us loves to prepare for Christmas but, as ever, I wonder how well the Christmas message is taken to heart. When December 25th arrives many folk will enjoy certain aspects of the day and then their thoughts will soon turn to how best to celebrate the next festival of Over-indulgence and excess - New Year's Eve!
Those of us in the Church are encouraged to use these coming weeks to prepare ourselves in order that this season might affect us deeply and not just in some shallow, superficial manner. Then when we celebrate Christmas itself we might recognise not just the birth of a baby, but the very gift of God to us; then when we hear of angels singing it is not the wings and halos that catch our attention but the declaration of peace can earth that encourages and challenges us; then when we sing of shepherds visiting a stable it is not so much the thought of fluffy lambs that fills our minds but how the good news of Christ's birth comes first to the outsiders and those on the margins of respectable society.
These next few weeks are not to be dismissed lightly as merely the time to do our Christmas shopping and stock up on the food, drink and presents we will need on the 25th, they are an opportunity to listen, consider and reflect on the Advent themes and messages in order to grasp a truth deeper than the froth of so much of the secular celebration of Christmas.
Try to immerse yourself in Advent this year and, through that, open yourself to an even deeper understanding of God's wondrous coming?
The Revd Craig Bowman is minister of St Andrew’s Cheam and Wallington United Reformed Churches