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A Message from Fr Paul (December)

Dear Friends,

‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’

As Christmas approaches we hear once again of references to that ‘little town’ which was the setting for the first Christmas. We sing about this place in many seasonal songs and carols and recall the simple scene in that stable in that place where there was no room at the Inn!

Today that area of the world is in the midst of enormous turmoil and is the setting of a terrible ongoing conflict in which many lives have been lost and many people have been displaced from their homes. This is a far cry from the hopes and aspirations of the Christmas season and the message of the holy child of Bethlehem.

Yet we recall that at the time of Jesus’ birth, the political climate at the time was far from stable and peaceful. The land was occupied by foreign forces and the whims of despotic rulers prevailed. The Christmas story involves the struggles of a poor family who are forced to flee from their homeland. It tells of the slaughter of innocent young children at the hands of a ruthless king whose desire to hold onto power was his motivation for much of what he did.

In so many ways the world hasn’t changed, despite the great advances that human beings have made since that time. The motivations of the human heart are much the same as they always have been. Jesus warns his hearers that it is what emanates from within the human heart that are the root causes of our problems! He came to show us that there is a different and better way to live alongside each other. This entails the need to ensure that the desires of the heart are kept in check by surrendering ourselves to a higher authority. Jesus came to reveal what this ‘authority’ looks like as manifested in a human being.

At the heart of the Christmas story there is a small new-born child who comes to bless the world with His presence. So many of the true blessings of this season are in those small things that are offered and received in a spirit of love and gratitude. In the midst of the complex and complicated challenges of our time, may we hold onto those small simple things that cut through to the essentials of life in which we should all rejoice at this time of the year.

May you capture something of the miracle of human life and love this Christmas season with a renewed sense of what really matters and with a greater desire to cherish those small reflections of the love which is at the heart of life itself.

A Happy and Blessed Christmas to you all.
With my prayers and best wishes,
Fr Paul Seaman (Rector of Pulborough)


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