How will you remember your loved ones?

Tom Kennar with his wife Clare, daughter Emily and his gran
Tom Kennar with his wife Clare, daughter Emily and his gran

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Canon Tom Kennar, rector of St Faith’s church in Havant, talks about remembering our loved ones at Christmas

She could always be relied on for shrieks of laughter when opening stockings – especially when Santa put a piece of coal in the bottom, instead of an orange.

My favourite memory is of when she would pick up the hem of her nightie, and dance around the coffee table singing ‘we wish you a merry Christmas!’

Since her death a few years ago, Christmas just hasn’t felt the same.

That’s a feeling that many of us have at this time of the year.

As a priest, I’m often told of how much some people miss their loved ones – and this feeling is especially strong at Christmas.

There is a hole in Christmas which is shaped like our loved ones who have passed on.

Over the last few years, a number of churches have tried to respond to this feeling of loss by offering services for remembering loved ones just before Christmas.

At St Faith’s, Havant, for example, we are offering a special service on this coming Sunday, starting at 3.30pm.

At that service, we will remember those we have lost by hanging their names onto Christmas trees in the church.

We will thank God for them and for the good memories we have of Christmases past when they were with us in body as much as spirit.

Christmas is also the time of year when a more ancient, shared memory is re-kindled too.

It’s not a memory made up of our own personal recollections, but it is one that has been passed down to us from generations passed.

It’s a wonderful collective memory of the God who came to Earth, born in poverty and soon to be a refugee and eventually to die for all humanity.

At midnight on Christmas Eve, during the ‘Christ Mass’ (from where the word Christmas comes) we will break bread and share wine together to remember the most loved one of all.

How will you remember your loved ones this year?

n St Faith’s Church is in West Street, Havant.

To get in touch with Canon Tom Kennar, call (023) 9249 2129 or e-mail tomkennar@gmail.com.

The church is online at stfaith.com.

Or you can look it up on Facebook, at facebook.com/stfaithschurchhavant.