From the Vicar
I find it intriguing and compelling that in the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke of the birth of Jesus, the birth that we are about to celebrate once more, the two sets of visitors that we are specifically told about are so sharply different.
In Luke’s narrative it is the shepherds who are called from their lonely vigil on the hillside outside Bethlehem to hurry into town to find the child.
In Matthew’s story it is the Wise Men who negotiate a tortuous journey to discover the stable.
The contrast could hardly be more acute.
Shepherds were widely despised in 1st century Palestine. Their job was tough, isolated and at time dangerous and the majority looked down on them. They were near the bottom of the pecking order.
However, the Wise Men, or Magi, were astrologers, educated men, most probably members of a Persian priestly caste. They bring a sense of mystique and richness to the Christmas story.
This helps us see that the Good News of the birth of Jesus is a precious gift to all human kind.
The angel who addressed the shepherds in the field told them of ‘good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.’
St John’s Prologue reminds us ‘what has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.’
There is no distinction here, and there is no partiality. God’s love is poured out in Jesus for all his people.
This Christmas all the churches of our Cluster will offer a range of services that celebrate this wonderful season, from Carol Services, to Crib Services, and late-night and day-time Communions.
We extend a warm invitation to all the folk of our villages, whoever they may be.
All the details are on our notice boards, on our websites, or you can phone me on 01208 850088.
Do come and join us at any one of these acts of worship, for the message of God’s love is for you and me and all