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A Christmas Message from the District Chairs

Thursday 24 December 2020

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“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” - John 1.1-5

We come to the end of a year of unimaginable suffering for millions of people. Some have been ill, others have lost their lives, some have been parted from loved ones at crucial moments and others have struggled on alone. Many people have lost livelihoods, homes and hope in the future. We have also witnessed courage and tenacious persistence from many – those who work in the NHS, in education, those who deliver food, those who care for the elderly in homes and so many people who have kept communities together through small and large acts of kindness and generosity. In our church families, we have had to make difficult decisions and to be willing to change, to do things differently – always balancing our longing to gather together with the need to keep people safe – and it has been hard at times to know what to do for the best.

As Chairs of this wonderful District, each of us has been amazed and yet not surprised at the creativity that has been shown in preparing online and other forms of worship; at the sheer enormity of love-in-action demonstrated by church members and leaders in supporting the vulnerable, the hungry, the lonely and the afraid. Our love has not only been shown to those within the church but has been poured out in work with the communities in which we all serve together. We know that much of this work and the constant decision-making in response to fast-changing guidance has been costly, and that many in church leadership, lay and ordained, are feeling very tired and now face the new reality of being in Tier Four. We each have our own stories of plans disrupted, disappointment at not being able to see loved ones and of working out how to offer or participate in meaningful Christmas worship.

The God who spoke a word and in doing so created all that is, from countless universes to tiny microbes, is still the same and in that we find our hope. There are times when we have longed for a new beginning and yet feared it might never come. Times we have looked for signs of God’s arrival but failed to see the evidence of God’s love in the world. We have looked for the Messiah in the palaces of the wealthy, forgetting that the Saviour of the World arrived as a refugee, born in struggle in an occupied land.

Remember, there is no reason to fear the dark;
The light of the world shines in the darkness.

The waiting is over, the gift of love is given.
The light of the world shines in our hearts.

Look! Look and see all our hope, become real in a tiny child.
The light of the world shines in the nations.

Worship God with wonder, awe and joy!
The light of the world shines in our hearts.

However you plan to spend Christmas, may you see glimpses of God’s glory, may you rest awhile, and may you know the joy of receiving the Christ child in your own heart. We pray with you that the New Year will bring peace into our homes and healing into God’s broken world.

Every blessing

Micky, Jongi, Nigel
Chairs of the London District of the Methodist Church

Image designed by Reiss Brown, age 11 from Wembley Circuit,   winner of the London District’s Christmas card competition. Design   depicts a sleeping baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph watching over   him. The Christmas card design competition was part of 'Woven', the London   District’s theme for 2019 – 2021.

A Christmas Message from the District Chairs - 24 December 2020
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