December 2019/January 2020

This is the time of year to be looking forward, counting down the days to Christmas, then looking forward to a fresh start in the New Year. This year we have another day to look forward to, Friday 13th December. That will be a good day for some politicians, a bad day for others. We surely hope it will turn out to be a good day for the country.

If we are on the electoral roll, we will have the opportunity to cast our vote. We will have a choice, firstly, whether to vote or not. If in that sort of doubt, remember Peterloo, where blood was shed. Remember the suffragettes. Remember those who gave their lives “for freedom from tyranny”’ in two world wars.

There is, of course, the view that Parliament has been discredited because the two 31sts have come and gone without our leaving the EU. You might, however, like to consider the opposite conclusion that it has done its job of holding the government to account. Either way, our democracy is at present a parliamentary one and every so often there is the opportunity to make our choice.

Christians believe that God makes choices. At harvest time, there is the celebration of God’s choice to create the heavens and the earth, and human beings “in his image.” As Advent and Christmas approach, Christians celebrate God’s coming among us in the person of his son Jesus Christ, a choice, and a risk (another Friday).

It is a great thing that people who are not usually churchgoers choose to attend carol services or the midnight celebration on Christmas Eve. It is a boost to the regulars, and we trust that something of God’s love will be sensed.

On this theme of choice, allow me to remind you of the words that are always read during this season from John’s Gospel:

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God…

In other words, being a Christian involves a choice, which is often seen as a response to an invitation. As a hymn puts it, “Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?”

If you have a vote, use it, and every Christian Church depends on those who vote with their feet and join in worship.

At times like this, slogans abound. One more comes to mind: Carpenter seeks joiners.

We look forward to welcoming people to our Christmas services, especially to Christingle on the 15th and our carol service on the 22nd.

Wishing you every blessing,

Yours

Robert Draycott.

About Robert Draycott

After training at Regent's Park College Oxford for the Baptist Ministry I was ordained in 1976. My first Church was Wollaston in Northamptonshire. Then our whole family moved to Brasil where I served with the BMS in a variety of roles including teaching Theology and Biblical studies in Campo Grande. From 1992 -2010 I was Chaplain and Head of RS at Eltham College. I was Interim Minister of Eltham URC 2012-14, before moving to Gloucester in 2015.
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