A New World is Coming

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

As I write this letter the run up to the general election is really beginning to take off.

No one knows what result we will wake up to on 13th December; it might be ‘more of the same’ or it might be a completely new regime.

Whatever the outcome, the lives of many could be changed dramatically – if and when all the promises that have been made come into effect.

As December dawns and, through Advent, we approach all that celebrating Christmas means, we find ourselves in a similar situation; will it be ‘more of the same’ – or is there a chance that we might have a new start?

On one hand we may gain great comfort by placing on our Christmas tree fragile glass toys that belonged to our parents or even our grandparents whilst, on the other, modern day technology might mean that we can see and talk with loved ones living many miles away – even on the other side of the world.

If we ponder carefully the essence of the Christmas story we will see that we are fortunate to have the benefit of ‘more of the same’ and the thrill of something new and exciting.

At the heart of it all is God’s great love for humankind in sending his Son to be our Saviour. The fulfilment of the Old Testament promise that ‘a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel’ (Isaiah 7: 14) is unchanging, eternal and a source of deep-seated assurance.

At the same time, we can, indeed must, allow ourselves to engage with what the kernel of the story might mean for us in our own day and age; here, in Alnwick, in 2019 and 2020. What is that might be if, in the words of the well-loved carol, we open up our hearts and really let ‘the dear Christ enter in’?

I want to suggest to you that the careful balance of taking hope and comfort from the age-old Christmas story – and the risky excitement of allowing the love which came down at Christmas to dwell in our hearts and minds so that our actions reflect the love, joy and peace of the Christ-child will result in us having a perfect mixture of ‘more of the same’ and an energising new start.

So, whatever the outcome of the general election – whether it be ‘more of the same’ or a new regime, perhaps we should take our cue from the cowboy’s carol:

“There’ll be a new world beginning from tonight” it says.
A new world informed by and inspired from the message of the angels who, on that night, sang of peace on earth and goodwill to all.

With every blessing for Christmas and all that 2020 has in store,

Paul.

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