Christmas Joy and Celebration

There is a lot of pain in the Christmas story, and yet it is a story of great joy and celebration. There is pain of poverty, political oppression and childbirth, of being misunderstood and rejection. But it is also a story of God coming into our world, a story of hope and salvation, a story of good and of great joy for all people.

The angel said to the shepherds (Luke 2.10-11) 'Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, ... she will bear a son ... and he will save his people from their sins.'

I love the songs of Christmas - the songs of the angles, the song of Mary, and the carols we sing. One of my favourite carols is Silent Night, not only does it remind us of the treasured family and Christmas' past, it also testifies of the Saviours birth - what joy!

I hope that our Carol Services at St Phillip 4pm 16th December and All Saints 4.30pm 22nd December, as well as the Christingle services on Christmas Eve at 4pm & 5pm, as well as other church and community events around maidstone will help to demonstrate and communicate something of this wonderful Christmas message. If your reading this while waiting for one of our services to start, thank you for coming to celebrate

and sing with us. (Please see the Community magazine, our websites and facebook "All Saints with St Philip and St Stephen maidstone" for more details).

May you know God's blessing on you and those you love this Christmas. If you are in Maidstone over Christmas, you'd be welcome to join our Family Service at All Saints at 10.00am on Christmas Day. I hope and pray that you have a Happy new Year too.

My Prayer this Christmas is that whatever pain that you or your loved ones face at this time of year, reflecting on the Christmas Story would help you know that there is hope and good news. A Saviour has come, he is called Emmanuel, God with us, his name is Jesus.

Every Blessing

Revd Ian