In a Spirit of Thanksgiving and Hope

A frequent question that people ask each other at this time of the year is; “What are you doing for Christmas?” Often the answer involves visiting family and friends, spending time together and having a meal. For us at St Thomas’, it is being together at Mass and hearing again the proclamation of the Good News of the birth of Jesus who is the Christ and the one who is the light that banishes the darkness of our world. Our Christmas food is the Word that is proclaimed and takes root in our hearts and the bread broken and eaten which is Christ himself.

We celebrate the Mass of Nativity of the Lord in a spirit of thanksgiving and hope.

In thanksgiving, we remember the blessings that we have received during the past year. In thanking God for the love of our family and the love and care of our friends, we pray for all those who experience great loneliness because they mourn the death of a dear loved one. We pray for those who are estranged from members of their family and pray for reconciliation and healing. We pray for those who have fled their homeland seeking refuge and safety. We ask that we grow a welcoming heart to those who land on our shore.

One of my favourite passages in the Old Testament is;

“When peaceful silence enveloped all and the night had run the half of her swift course, down from the heavens, from the royal throne leapt your all-powerful Word, like a stern warrior into the heart of the doomed land.” (Wisdom 18:14-15).

As we weary at the relentless news of violence and death in Ukraine, we pray with confidence that the all-powerful Word will shatter the darkness of hatred and death that surrounds us. It seems a contradiction that a helpless newborn child is the Prince of Peace. The angels announced to the shepherd that a saviour who is Christ the Lord will be born in the city of David. May the weakness of this child continue to conquer the powerful of this world with his love and healing and bring true and lasting peace.

Fr John, Fr Mark and myself are blessed to be asked to serve you as your priests. Your love and care for us is overwhelming. We would like to thank you for all the gifts and cards that you have given. A special thanks goes to all of you who helped to clean the church, those who have organised the flowers and have done the sacristy work. A big thank you goes to those of you who have led the music and acted as readers, ministers of the Eucharist and all our servers.

Adeste fideles laeti triumphantes
Venite adoremus Dominum

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest