Christmas message from the Vicar of Sleaford

‘I’m Dreaming of a white Christmas’, Bing Crosby sang many decades ago.
Rev Philip Johnson of St Denys' Church, Sleaford.Rev Philip Johnson of St Denys' Church, Sleaford.
Rev Philip Johnson of St Denys' Church, Sleaford.

He may have been dreaming of snow, but the past few days have seen hard white frosts and sub-zero temperatures… a different sort of white Christmas.

Warm hubs have opened up around town where people can find a place to be warm – essential when the thermometer reads -4. TV adverts for Christmas fare are more muted than usual because of the cost of fuel and general cost of living. You might even be wondering whether it is possible to have a joyful Christmas this year.

So many Christmas carols are apt for this year! The Calypso Carol begins, ‘See Him lying on a bed of straw, a draughty stable with an open door…’.

This carol reminds us of the hardship of Christ’s birth – a stable in a place far from home. In fact, the holy family were soon to become refugees, but in the stable, there were few creature comforts and little warmth. Yet that was the starting place for God to show the world what true love and joy is.

Another carol for this year might be Good King Wenceslas who looked out of his window on the Feast of Stephen (Boxing Day, if you were wondering) when he saw an old man ‘gathering winter fuel’ – no easy task gathering wood for a fire when the ‘snow lay deep and crisp and even!’ Wenceslas had no idea who the old peasant was, but he wanted to do something.

The rest of the carol tells the story of the journey to provide food and fuel for the old man, before rooting this act of compassion into the Christmas story.

The Story of God’s great gift of love and grace comes at the darkest, coldest time of year to give us hope for the future. But that glimpse of hope can be experiences in giving and receiving – an act that brings joy.

Good King Wenceslas reflected God’s gift of love to the world when he gave to a poor old peasant and joy entered that home.

Christmas Blessings to all

Rev Philip Johnson

Rural Dean of Lafford

Vicar of Sleaford