Christmas Reflection by Stewart Perry

Every Friday morning a small group of us meet in the chapel of the church to say Morning Prayer at 8am. Anglican Morning Prayer usually contains 2 ‘canticles’ as part of the order of service. A canticle is a liturgical song, some people like to mix & match canticles or include hymns in their place, but on a Friday morning we keep it traditional & ‘Anglican Prayer Book pure’. Each week the opening canticle, which comes from Hebrews 10, starts with these words:

“We have complete freedom:

to go into the most holy place by means of the death of Jesus.”

As we prepare for another Christmas of uncertainty, challenge & change, I found these words particularly comforting this week. I know ‘freedom’ has become a polarised word, but if I can ask you to suspend the cultural polarisation for just a moment, I suspect you’ll find these words comforting as well.

Particularly at this time of year, we have so much in our modern world that tries to attract our attention away from the things that really matter. We can feel like we are in a constant state of trying to be convinced to shift our perspective of what matters most. Today’s canticle reminded me that we need to allow God’s word, the Holy Spirit & God’s people to keep us grounded in the truth: that because of Jesus, nothing can seperate us from God’s love. Nothing can stop us from worshipping our new born king. Nothing can stop the work of God in the world through God’s people.

We have complete freedom to celebrate Christmas!

Our perspective of ‘coming into the most holy place’ certainly has shifted over the last 2 years, but I do believe it has shifted for the better. It has been a powerful reminder that church is not a building, it is not a time of day or week, & it is not our favourite way of doing things.

This year we can worship together in familiar ways at familiar times. Our church will be following all the guidelines & we have been preparing to worship both physically & online. All our Christmas services will be live-streamed, we are ready to welcome you physically & we understand people will make choices on how they connect to worship based on their personal circumstances. Please check our website for all the information you need to worship with your church this Christmas.

However you decide to worship, please be encouraged that by means of the death of Jesus, we are not able to freely worship, as followers we are compelled to do so. It is an outpouring of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Don’t get to the end of Christmas Day & realise you haven’t made time to worship.

Yes the world is uncertain & changing & challenging, but it has been since Jesus rose from the grave & will continue to be until he comes again in glory. In the meantime, we worship!

We will recommence our Friday Morning Prayer on the first Friday of the new year & you are very welcome to join us, although I must warn we do spend as much time talking as we do praying!!

Thank you for being such an important part of our church community in what has been another dynamic year. On behalf of our staff & ministry team can I not only thank you but wish you a happy, holy & worship filled Christmas. 

2021 was not what we hoped or expected at the end of 2020 but God has not been silent & the church has not been dormant. As we end 2021, I have no doubt that the work of God will continue & I feel privileged to lead our church in whatever direction that might take in the knowledge that:

“We have complete freedom:

to go into the most holy place by means of the death of Jesus.”

Happy Christmas