Christmas Lights

Dear People of Alnwick,

I am writing this letter only two days after the switch-on of the Alnwick Christmas Lights – and I want to pay tribute to that small but dedicated band of folk who work tirelessly and manage to transform our town for the dark days of December in such a spectacular way.

Many of us, I suspect, enjoy the pleasure of walking through the town, soaking up the special atmosphere which the lights provide and perhaps observing, in passing, that they make a pretty show.

Of course, nothing really worthwhile happens without a great deal of unseen preparatory work and hidden effort (as our recent Winter Market proved!) but I wonder how many people are aware that repair, maintenance and preparation of the lights goes on weekly from the beginning of May each year to ensure that our town looks so splendid over the festive season?

The message of Advent and Christmas – from darkness to light – also involves much preparation, and not a little hard work, if we are to enjoy the full light of Christ’s incarnation.

We read in the Old Testament how, down the centuries, the prophets spent time preparing the people of Israel for the coming of their Messiah: some of those people heard and others did not – but that did not prevent God’s preparatory work continuing.

When the time was right, God then sent his Son to be with us and, once again, some were ready to recognise the light and enhance their lives as a result whilst others were not.

The questions I would like to pose for us to ponder as we journey through Advent and Christmas this year are these: Do we simply see the birth of Christ as a ‘pretty’ episode in our lives, bringing in a little light at a dark time of year? Or, do we recognise the hard work of God behind the sending of his Son to be our Saviour – and have we prepared our hearts, our minds, our lives to receive him?

Some time during January our Christmas lights will be dismantled – but the light of Christ will continue to shine in our lives and illuminate our way if only we give him the opportunity to do so.

May the light of Christ fill your lives and may our simple but meaningful prayer over these coming days be:

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
there is room in my heart for thee.”

With every blessing for Christmas and all that lies ahead in 2014,


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