From the Vicarage
Christmas is NOT cancelled!
We are hoping to do as much as we can over Christmas, safely and within the current guidelines. As the situation is constantly changing due to Covid-19, all our plans are subject to last minute changes so please keep checking our notice boards and websites for the most up to date plans.
Dependant on Covid guidance relevant at the time, it is hoped that, in Tavistock, Midnight Mass will be held at 11.30 pm on the 24th December, and a Christmas Morning Eucharist held at 9.30 am on Christmas Day. Sadly though, for both, numbers will be restricted, and it will be necessary to book a place for one of these services in advance. To book a place, please contact Mary Whalley (Churchwarden) on 01822 481179 from the 15th December. Services will also be held at Christ Church, Brentor, on Christmas Eve at 11.00 am, and at St.Paul’s Gulworthy on Christmas Day at 10.30 am.
The Christmas Story
Christmas offers us all an opportunity to capture glimpses of childhood sacred memories. There is a timelessness about gazing into the crib and coming face to face with the truth that God came down from heaven and dwelt among us as a helpless baby. The Gospel story tells us that at Bethlehem, on a starry night, the Son of God was born. A burst of light startled the shepherds, and Angels sang at his birth. It is the simplicity of this happening that captures our imagination. Christmas is more than a story that is told, it’s about a birth that brings heaven right down to earth – “love came down at Christmas” and gave an eternal value to our lives.
Jesus’ birth was a difficult and bitter experience for Joseph and Mary. There was nothing romantic about the first Christmas. Joseph and Mary were poor people, who found doors closed to them, and who were forced to shelter in a stable where animals gave up their manger for the baby. The message is clear: From the very beginning, the love of God is available to all, but especially to the poor, the weak, and the disadvantaged. As we gaze into the crib, we are reminded of our need to see grace and goodness in the most deprived of people and situations, and of the need to pray for vision to see things God’s way, and for the courage to act according to his will.
At the beginning of his Gospel, St John tells us: “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God …. And the word became flesh and dwelt amongst us”. As Christmas approaches, we are all invited, once again, to celebrate God who makes himself known to us, and who comes to us to show us how to live and how to love. All human life is part of this story. We discover that Christ comes to us in the wonder of every human being and as he reveals himself in the value and dignity of every person with whom we live and work.
Christmas is a story of care and concern for everyone, and of God’s involvement in the world in which we live. Jesus comes into all the complexities of human living to show us through his birth, life, death, and resurrection, that things can be different, things can be changed. It this lies our hope in times of difficulty and distress.
As Mary, Joseph, the angels, the shepherds, and the wise men play their part in the story of pointing to Jesus and the new life he offers, so too, we are invited to become part of this story once again this Christmas.
I wish you peace and joy, and every blessing this Advent and Christmastide.