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North Kent Group of
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Group Pastoral Letter for
December  2018

Dear Friends
I feel like uttering the words of the Tony Newley song “stop the world I want to get off!” It seems only a few weeks ago I was wishing everybody Happy New Year and yet now we race towards Christmas. As of today it is 32 sleeps to Christmas (according to my Father Christmas App) but it will be even fewer by the time you read this little ditty! In fact it will be Advent when you read this. Most in the Protestant Western world will usher in Advent on Advent Sunday on 2nd December. Advent which comes from the latin adventus means the arrival of of a notable person or thing. But in the Eastern Orthodox Church (who follow the Julian calendar) and the Celtic Church it started on 15th November. So in Orthodox and Celtic traditions Advent lasts forty days like Lent. In fact in the Celtic Church they call Advent the lesser Lent. Which I think is a bit sad firstly because Christmas is as important as Easter. Because without Christmas, Easter could not have happened. Secondly preparing for the arrival of Christ is just as important as preparing for Easter and Christ’s death and resurrection. I don’t mean getting all the decorations up, sending Christmas cards and buying the Turkey. I mean preparing us to receive Jesus on Christmas Morn. Chris G. and I were only saying the other day we could then sing the words by John F Oakley
     Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
     born this happy morning,
     Jesus, to thee be glory given;
     Word of the Father,
     now in flesh appearing.


Getting our hearts ready so we may receive the special baby, the Son of God, Emmanuel God is with us. Jesus, God’s son grows up to be the man who went to Calvary for you and me so we might be part of God’s Family and have life in all it’s fullness. That is the Joy of Christmas, celebrating the birth of Christ all those years ago in a Cattle Shed. That shows how much God loves us that He sent His only Son in human form so we would be part of His Family. Christopher Idle in his poem Now is the Time wrote:-


   Now is the time, the time of God’s Favour,
   Promise and hope for a people restored;
   let us repent and turn back to our Saviour
   truly to welcome the year of the Lord.

I pray you all have a joyous and peaceful Christmas and whether you are one or ninety one years old I hope you will see the Nativity scene with awe and wonder. Love really did come down at Christmas, star and angels gave the sign.

Guy M

Merry Christmas and a Happy & Heathy New Year
to you all from the Elderships at St Paul’s and Cuxton.
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