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From The Rectory December 2020

SIMON WARD 12-2018As I write, we are in the first week of the second lockdown and as the days get shorter and the nights seem to get darker I know that this time is difficult for many of you. The whole of this year has been beset by uncertainty and restrictions: we have needed to stay at home and adapt our behaviour around other people. We have had to change plans and cancel visits and travel.  We have not been able to meet with people we normally anticipate seeing regularly. We even had to close our churches
The uncertainty extends into December. The lockdown is due to end on 2nd December but there is a concern it may extend further. I’ll admit that planning for Christmas in the Parish of Great Yarmouth is fraught with hesitation and a need for an “either or” approach. There will be plenty happening and we are resolved to offer plenty of options for people to have opportunity to reflect and worship in this season
Lockdown is tough but it need not be all negative. Some people have embraced the gift of time they have received without travel to and from work. Some have grasped the opportunity to learn new skills. Some have found that they are more adept at using technology than they imagined (and I include many clergy in this bracket). Globally and nationally we have noted the benefits of less travel and burning of fossil fuels and in many larger cities, streets have been reclaimed by pedestrians and cyclists. There is good to be found, even in the gloom
God is with us in the midst of uncertainty. The heart of Christmas is a story which is full of uncertainty and people who are feeling more than a bit wobbly. There is a young woman lurching down the road to Bethlehem wondering where she will have her baby. There is a young man who travels with the woman wondering what is happening in his life. There are shepherds who are terrified at an angelic apparition and then feel compelled to ditch the flock and run to Bethlehem. There are wise men whose hearts God stirred who journey across the expanse of the Middle East but don’t know exactly where they are going
If you’re feeling a bit uncertain, maybe you will be able to identify with someone in the Christmas story. It looks as though there is plenty of choice. Underneath the uncertainty is the wonder of a God who loves us and will not let us go: a God whose plan is sure and true and will go to great lengths to reveal that wonder to us
I wish you every blessing and peace through December and pray we may use the days of Advent to prepare our hearts for the Mystery of Christmas                         
Fr Simon
Rev Canon Simon Ward
Team Rector, Great Yarmouth Parish


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