We publish a Parish Magazine 4 times a year and in each Magazine there is a letter from the vicar or a member of the Ministry team.
Letter from the Vicarage
And Christ shall give you light.
'Christ shall give you light.' For the believer, God's glory is perfectly present in him who, the Letter to the Hebrews declares, 'reflects the glory of God'. The author of John's Gospel was convinced that it was Jesus' glory the prophet Isaiah saw; of him Isaiah spoke (John 12:41). Jesus not only radiates this glory in his risen state: transcendent purity, holiness, light, power, life. It energised his matchless miracles on earth, pervaded even his suffering, which is the cross transfigured, Calvary revealing the divine 'I AM.'
Christianity is construed on a conviction enshrined in the Prologue of John's Gospel: 'The true light that enlightens every man and woman was coming into the world… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father' (John 1:9, 14). The light enlightens every man, woman and child. Our Christmas is not a private birthday party; it is an epiphany, a manifestation, a revelation that goes far beyond the boundaries of Bethlehem and the Holy Land. It is 'joy to the world.'
That is why on the feast of Epiphany (6 January) we borrow Isaiah's vision of worldwide belief - the colourful picture he drew of people from the Arabian peninsula associated with Abraham, and the earliest ancestors - welcome it into our worship and relate it to Jesus, God's self-revealing to the world:
A multitude of camels shall cover you
The young camels of Midian and Ephah;
All those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
And shall proclaim the praise of the Lord
It is for this reason that the Feast of Epiphany is so important. The three strangers from the East - in all probability, star gazers - add little to the basic Christmas story. But they do serve to remind us of something the 'little town of Bethlehem' might obscure. Jesus (Joshua) was indeed born of a young Jewish girl; he did indeed come first to 'The house of Israel'; but it is for every man, woman and child he came to enlighten, to live for and die for and rise for.
Wishing you, and those whom you love, every blessing for Christmas and the New Year.
Nicholas P Anderson
Nicholas P Anderson