REV ROGER JACKSON: Bringing light and joy into the winter

Rev Roger Jackson with Mayor of Fareham Connie Hockley at the Fareham Shopping Centre Christmas grotto
Rev Roger Jackson with Mayor of Fareham Connie Hockley at the Fareham Shopping Centre Christmas grotto
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ANOTHER Christmas! I am the first to declare that I love Christmas.

Even when I say we cannot afford a tree this year, my family know that I will be the first at the garden centre to buy one.

The opportunity to bring as much light and joy into the darkest time of the year is not to be missed.

The most famous story ever told is being celebrated in Christmas concerts, carol services, Christmas nativity plays in churches, schools and community centres across the country and the Christian world.

At St Peter and St Paul’s Church our Christmas tree festival happens from December 15 to 18, with more than 30 sponsored trees celebrating that birth at Bethlehem.

It reinforces the familiar nativity account, as all the trees decorated according to our theme of a favourite Christmas carol.

Trees illustrating carols from O Come all ye Faithful to the Twelve Days of Christmas help impress that at the centre of our celebration is a tiny child born and resting in a manger.

Somehow, in this child, God is truly with us, humbly and lovingly in a uniquely personal way.

He becomes very little so that He can make us great.

He becomes what we are, so that we can become what He is.

It is the wonderful mystery of God’s love, and it brings a new dimension of hope and healing for humankind.

Explanations have their place but, however sound, they seldom satisfy completely.

You and I do better to make our way to Bethlehem in our hearts, and kneel before the poor manger throne.

We can be faithful, like the Virgin Mary.

We can be loyal, quietly ready and willing to serve, like Joseph.

We can bring our good-hearted ordinariness, like the shepherds.

And we can sing with joy of God’s love, like the angels.

Above all, let Jesus, the Christ-child, be at the heart of your Christmas.

If he is, this Christmas will bring great blessings.

Details of our Christmas tree festival and all our Christmas services can be found on our website at sspeterandpaulfareham.org and via our Facebook and Twitter accounts @sspandpfareham.

Come and help us celebrate.