The month of December has arrived with all the expectation that the celebration of Christmas brings. The Church is in the period of advent as we prepare and wait with expectation. We focus on the birth stories of Jesus and what it meant for God to come and dwell amongst his people and we think about his promised second coming and what that means for each of us individually. Each year as I prepare for this season I am struck by a line or a verse in the Christmas story and I find myself reflecting on the words. This year is no different and the words that I will meditate on are Luke2: 7. “She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” At the birth of Jesus there was no physical room for him but do we have room in our hearts and lives for him today?
Many years ago I heard a sermon preached on Psalm 137. The children of Israel have lost their home. All their possessions are gone. They are defeated and broken and are being taken as slaves to Babylon. They say to those who have enslaved them, “How can we sing the songs of the Lord in a foreign land?” The preacher I referred to earlier, talked about the challenge of sharing the Christian message and that for many people in the UK, that story of faith and hope and a God who dwells with his people is a foreign language. I have been a Christian for just over 30 years and when I venture outside the church and talk about my journey of faith; it can feel like singing the Lord’s song in a strange land.
And so that leads to the question, is there room in our hearts and lives for Jesus? Christmas is a time to reflect on how amazing it is that a God who is creator and sustainer took on frail human flesh to dwell amongst his people. He was not born in a palace but to a poor teenage couple. He came at a time when his people lived under Roman oppression and rule. The birth of Jesus brought the promise of justice, peace, and a time when all people would be valued and achieve their full potential. Too often knowledge of the Christian story is from the media and films and so this Christmas I invite and encourage you to go to the source. Open the Bible and read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Reflect and engage with the material. Let it speak to you and make room in your heart for Jesus, the same Jesus for whom there was no room at the inn.
I wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas. I also take this opportunity to wish the Revd David Lawson, every blessing on his retirement and thank him for all that he has done in this community. I have enjoyed working with him.
May the joy of Christmas fill your lives,
Revd Vindra Maraj-Ogden
Christian Aid Prayers:
We have been carol, singing outside Sainsbury’s with Nash Mills School and in the High Street Kings Langley. We give thanks for all that will have been collected and the support shown for the work of Christian Aid. This year the Government will be match funding the money collected during the Christmas period and we pray now for all those who have responsibility for its distribution.
God who so loved the world, thank you for the incredible generosity of the gift of your son, word become flesh. Amen.
£541 raised for Christian Aid carol singing
On Friday 15th December, outside Sainsbury's in Apsley, we were delighted to be joined by a class from the Nash Mills C of E primary school. Shoppers were clearly impressed by the combined efforts of the adult and child choir - they gave £410 in 90 minutes.
On Saturday 16th December a smaller choir sang in the Kings Langley food market and the local community donated £131.
Thanks to all who gave and/or sang.
Read the Autumn 2017 Campaign Update from our Christian Aid Committee.
The Kings Langley Christian Aid Annual Report for 2016 is available for download.