|Holy Communion Service at Austwick every Wednesday at 10.30.
Visitors to our villages are most welcome at our Church services. Do come along and join us.
It’s something of a cliché to describe this time of year as special, but for people all over the country, even those who are of a different faith, it is impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of the most important Christian festival of the year. For Christians, the anticipation reflects our need to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago, an event which changed the world and our relationship with God for ever. Christmas is a time when families, friends and neighbours come together and the spirit of Christmas is reflected in the giving and receiving of presents, a tradition inspired by the journey of the Magi to Bethlehem and the gifts they brought in homage to the birth of the new King, as foretold in the scriptures.
This will be the 59th Christmas I have celebrated while I and my family have lived in this community. My parents made Christmas a very special time and like most of us, I have treasured memories, even if the best ingredient, the Morecambe and Wise show is no longer available. We haven’t been here for every single one, but the number of times we have been away can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Traditionally my father would always attend Midnight Mass (I preferred to be in bed, keeping a watchful eye on the stocking at the end of my bed but somehow was always fast asleep when my mother came in to remove and fill it). Church on Christmas Day is always a special event. The Church looks wonderful, the carols we know so well are sung with enthusiasm and joy and people are wreathed in smiles. Mothers (and possibly fathers as well these days, although personally I find it is usually better to keep out of the way) are anxious about what might be happening in the kitchen. There is a worry that overexcited children might not behave as well as they could and will eat too much chocolate and spurn the delicious treats that have been prepared but everyone is infected by the special sense of the occasion in this season of goodwill.
We might regret the materialism and commercialism that characterises Christmas in the 21st century and fear that the essential messages of hope and goodwill to all men may be lost in overindulgence and the mounds of discarded wrapping paper, but we will come together in our churches in this community and all over the world to thank God for his goodness in sending us the gift of his only Son to guide our lives and ultimately to redeem us as sinners.
Giles Bowring, Churchwarden, Austwick