Christ at Christmas

St. Michael’s Vicarage, Alnwick
December 2021

Dear People of Alnwick,

Having a two-month edition of ‘Gateway’ for December and January means that it covers so much activity in church and in the wider world.

In the church calendar Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of Christ will all take place before our next edition is published.

In the secular world, commercialism (even if lots of it is ‘online’) will witness millions of pounds being spent, people will travel to be with family, and New Year celebrations are expected to be much greater than those of 2021 — always supposing the Covid-19 conditions allow.

As the Church marks the life-changing effects the birth of Christ had on the whole of humanity, the ‘world’ largely celebrates in a way that, seemingly, takes little notice of God’s gift of love.

We can reac in one of two ways to this fact. Either, we can moan and complain that people have ‘taken the Christ out of Christmas’ or, we can continue to do the same thing Christ himself embodied when he walked this earth: love with all our hearts.

It is that gift of God’s great love, demonstrated most fully in the coming of Christ at Christmas, which we must allow into our hearts, lives and actions and which can continue to help others think (even if only for the most fleeting of moments) what it is that compels us to follow the baby in the manger from Bethlehem to the cross and resurrection — events which changed the world for ever.

As Jane and I prepare to leave Alnwick in the New Year my hope is that you will continue to demonstrate God’s love in Christ in all the ways you have done in recent years: faithful in worship; caring for one another; supporting those in need whether locally, nationally or internationally; being accepting of others’ points of view and extending welcome to all who find themselves crossing the threshold of St Michael’s.

Along with a greater care for one another, it is in this latter ministry which I feel we have made real progress — and which we might dare to hope would warm the heart of God as much as it warms the hearts of those who receive that welcome.

After almost ten years as your Vicar it will not surprise you that I want to include some words from a hymn! As Christmas draws near we will inevitably sing ‘O come to my heart Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee. From serving you over the last decade I also know that there is more than enough room in your hearts for the love of God to be active in all that you might be called to do in the months and years ahead.

With every blessing,


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