Rector's letter

December 2017 letter

Charles Dickens once wrote “I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time”.

Dickens surely got this right. At Christmas we should be opening our hearts to help those around us. To put our materiality aside and take the time to find ways to help people and just reach out to our friends and family no matter where we may be, no matter how far they may be from us, and share with them wishes for good tidings, good health and good spirits.

I am concerned about one particular Christmas advert which appears to put forward the fact of buying great big televisions and all the new gadgets is what Christmas is all about. I certainly don’t believe that is true.

Christmas is a time for reflecting on our lives and searching for ways to impart good will and good tidings unto those around us. It is a time for us to step back from the work life and surround ourselves with family, friends or perhaps those more unfortunate than ourselves, find a bit of time to quiet reflection and rediscover why this season is meant for sharing with others, opening our hearts and caring for those around us. We have perhaps, in our quest for material wealth, forgotten what true happiness can be and how helping someone can do more to help ease our weary spirits than gaining new possessions. My own experience of volunteering at Norwich Open Christmas for the homeless and the lonely show me how true this can be.

December encompasses Advent the beginning of the Church’s year when Christians prepare to celebrate the greatest event where Jesus was born. His message of love and the morality he taught are lessons for us all

To quote former US President Calvin Coolidge “Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas”.

May I take the opportunity on behalf of the Heart of Norfolk Ministry Team to wish you all a Joyous and Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Norman Johnson

Reader, Heart of Norfolk Churches

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