Dear All,

This last Christmas we joyfully ‘rent the air asunder’, as the carol, Good King Wenceslas, has it. We gathered in the Redrow showhomes and on the grassy verge. A few days later, we were invited by the Beckspool committee to gather and celebrate the season nourished by warming food and cheery lighting.

I write just a few days after these events, aware that you are reading this maybe nearer Lent than Christmas. However, it is good to remember the reason for our celebration. In one way, it is the fact that we have a number of new residents moving into new properties in Frenchay, and they are being welcomed and invited to share in being a community of love, peace and joy. Matched with this, there is a celebration of achievement, that we are blessed by generous residents who offer to put themselves out for others, so that all can benefit through the renewal of Beckspool pond.

Where does the Christmas message meet us now, as one to celebrate in every month of the year? Perhaps these words of Isaiah will help to anchor our joy in permanent celebration and thanksgiving:

‘Trust in the Lord for ever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.’ (Isaiah 26 : 4)

Just as in our own days, Isaiah lived in a time of huge uncertainty, when their national systems and ways were being shaken. The people were entering an uncertain future in many ways. God’s word through this prophet and others in the bible is that God is unshakeable. His love is for ever. He is trustworthy through all circumstances.

During these early months in the South west of England we often encounter the harshest weather of the year for us. Maybe through fallen leaves, or even through snow, we may have to do some work to reveal the bare rock of our foundations. But that foundation has been laid in the gift of Jesus, and remains personal, reliable, and always heartwarming, whatever the season.

Peace to you through all the year and on,

Rev Charles Sugden