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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

New Year 2020 issue

From the Vicar, Fr Dr Colin Lawlor

As I write this letter I can see the Christmas decorations being taken down from a house opposite me – and we haven’t even reached Epiphany! For many in our world Christmas is done and dusted as soon as the remnants of the turkey are finally finished, if not before! But for those of us who profess the Christian faith the Christmas season lasts right up until the Feast of the Presentation of Christ, commonly known as ‘Candlemass’, on February 2nd (which this year falls on a Sunday), so I make no apologies that my letter has a Christmas feel about it.

During the run up to Christmas day itself I am always struck by the different types of advertisement we see on the television. On the one hand there are those that are aimed at getting us to spend money, either on ourselves or as presents for loved ones. But at the same time there are adverts which encourage us to think of the poor, the homeless and the lonely. In our materialistic age perhaps this second type of advertisement should give us cause to reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas.

In his Second Letter to the Corinthians St Paul writes: ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.’ (2 Corinthians 9). The Christmas story as told by Luke suggests that Jesus was born in poverty, indeed born in a stable because there was no room anywhere else. It is likely that Mary and Joseph were poor, Joseph’s occupation as a carpenter would not have been a lucrative occupation in first century Palestine. What this amounts to is that God in Christ chose to come in poverty and humility to identify with those who in the world have little or no standing or worldly power. And it is from this position of nothingness that he is able to make many spiritually rich. It is through his birth, his life among us, his sacrificial giving on the cross and his resurrection that he lifts us up by faith to new and everlasting life. What an incredible gift God has given us, far better than anything we might be tempted to buy through television advertising. Because this gift is God himself. This is summed up eloquently by the great hymn writer and bishop Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885) in one of his least famous hymns:

Sing with joy this blessed morn
Unto us a child is born,
Unto us a Son is given,
God himself comes down from heaven.

God comes down that we may rise,
By him lifted to the skies;
Christ is Son of Man that we
One with God in him may be.

Fr Colin