Religious News:


The Bible doesn't actually mention a stable, or a barn, or a cave - only a manger (in Luke 2:7). We do read that Mary laid her newborn in a manger because there was no room for him elsewhere in the place they were staying, but most scholars suggest that this was probably with some of Joseph's relatives. After all, if he was travelling back to his hometown, isn't it a bit strange to suggest Joseph and Mary were forced to stay in a stable for the birth instead of looking up one of their relatives who must surely have been expecting them. Matthew mentions that the magi came to ‘the house. ’Whatever the exact details of this story, it is worth taking some time to think about its message at this time and what it actually means to us. It is easy to get caught up in the rush around Christmas, the shopping, our efforts to make this family celebration so special. We can lose the real message – the story of the birth of Jesus taught us that we each have a great capacity to love, that love transforms not just people but situations, events. In the space of a few lines, Luke tells us that this is a story with ‘a message of great joy’ for everyone, a story that reminds us not to be afraid, a message about where peace can be found in our lives. Perhaps there is a message in all of that for us at Christmas time. This might be just the right time to take stock too, to conduct our own census, to count our blessings, to give thanks for our loved  ones, the people we have encountered this year,  to remember those who have travelled with us on our journey, new friends and old, those who have been there when we needed them. It is easy to take so much for granted yet we owe so much to so many. There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman. We did not get to this point unaided. It might just be the time to ask ourselves where I have found joy this year, in fact what brings happiness and contentment into my life. That can be quite confronting as sometimes we can come to see that we have been looking in the wrong places or that times of peace and contentment have been rare. Where have the moments of peace been in my life this year? Have I been looking for the acts of love I might see around me every day? Have I been a carrier of love, one who seeks to bring love to others, to my situation? Have I been a messenger of joy this year, a person of good news resisting the urge to spread the rumour, the fake news, the doom and gloom. So this Christmas, may you give and receive love generously. May you find the presence of God in your days and your endeavours. And may God continue to bless you and those you love. May you daily open the gift of your life and be alert to and grateful for the hidden treasures it contains.

Have a Merry Christmas and stay safe over the holiday period.


Thank you to all the families who donated groceries for the Chrismas Boxes!