A very happy New Year to you all!
I write this letter on St Stephen’s Day, 26th Dec. ‘Good King Wenceslas’ was one of the carols we sang in the morning. It begins,
‘Good King Wenceslas looked out on the Feast of Stephen.’
It goes on to describe how the monarch led the way for a procession of food relief to the poor, even though the wind was cold, and the snow was ‘deep and crisp and even’.
It reminds me of the ministry of John Keble, who while Rector of Hursley in Hampshire, went on foot across snow-filled fields in the darkness, to bring confirmation preparation to a single household, which was isolated.
This New Year, like no other in this generation, we are entrusted by God with spiritual bread for the spiritually hungry. We have been equipped with ‘Why Christmas’ booklets and the ‘Hope Explored Course’, (www.hope.explo.red). Like St Stephen, we have the Holy Spirit as our Comforter, enabling us to be bold, like Good King Wenceslas. Let’s be praying that when we look out upon our friends and neighbours, we can spot the spiritually hungry.
The deep, crisp and even snow reminds me of a bible verse from Isaiah,
‘Come now let us reason together, says the Lord,
Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.’
When I looked out this time last year, I saw a scene like this picture from my window.
Cars were immobilised. A quietness echoed through the streets. While I do not wish this upon us again this year (children’s snowball fights give way to treacherous steps for the elderly, especially), I long for the ‘Epiphany’ of God’s loving message to be encountered by all, when the noisy world is hushed. God is saying to the lost at this time, ‘Come let us reason together. Where is your power when electricity is taken away? Now is the time to make peace with God, through Jesus Christ.’