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Viewpoint from Rt Rev Dr Alan Winton 24/12/2021

alan wintonRt Rev Dr Alan Winton
Bishop of Thetford

 

Christmas is a time, among other things, for the giving and receiving of gifts. The custom seems to come partly from the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus, but also from the sense in which Christians believe that Jesus is God’s own Son, a gift to the world
 
When you’re a child, the gifts are one of the most exciting things about Christmas, but when you get older, it can all get a bit overwhelming. I struggle to know what gifts I want or need, and in a fragile world where poverty is widespread, isn’t there a point at which we can have enough?
 
dove leftSo in the run up to Christmas this year, I’ve been following a wonderful online calendar (see: www.DofN.org/calendar) that focuses on a gift of a different kind. It’s a gift that’s free and something you can take with you wherever you are: the gift of prayer. The calendar features a different person each day speaking simply and briefly about how they pray. We’ve had people who pray by simply sitting in silence, while others pray whilst running each morning. We’ve had people who pray by spending time in their garden, or with the aid of their camera, looking for images that will inspire and focus their prayers. We’ve had people who use set prayers from a book or by writing the names of people who are sick on pieces of paper, simply holding them before God. In the run up to Christmas there will be more stories shared, reflecting the variety of ways in which people pray
 
Dove rightThis gift of prayer is about becoming more conscious of God’s presence in our lives and in our world, and there’s no set way to do this. There’s a lot of wisdom from the past but also from listening and learning how others have come to experience this gift. And the wonderful thing is that, although it won’t immediately solve all our troubles, or necessarily bring immediate answers, it will bring more peace and hope and love into our lives if we stick at it
 
So why not try this free gift today. The Christmas story reminds us of the claim that there is a loving God present among us who reaches out to us, and one of the most precious gifts he offers us is this gift of prayer
 
Have a happy and holy Christmas. Bishop Alan

+ Alan Thetford

 


 

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