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Welcome to the website of
The Lambfold Benefice

A group of five Anglican rural parishes

in the geographical centre of England

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DECEMBER 2018

RECTOR’S RAMBLINGS - ADVENT HOPE
 
For two members of the Lambfold ministry team (Paul and Tim) Advent this year takes on
an added dimension, in addition to the normal preparation for the birth of Christ, we both
await the imminent arrival of our first Grandchildren. So for us the Advent hope this year is
something special.
 
I have to confess that I am more than slightly terrified of young babies, not knowing really
what to do with them; no doubt I will be given a crash course as a matter of necessity in
the next few weeks and a steep learning curve is obviously going to be one of my
Christmas presents this year! For any family the birth of a child is a marvellous moment,
one to rejoice in and be thankful for. The same applies to the extended family of the
Christian Church each Advent we count down the days to the Feast of the Nativity and the
Birth of Christ, and look forward with hope; it is a time to rejoice to celebrate and above all
a time to be thankful, for in that weak and helpless child God became incarnate, no longer
a remote figure but clothed in the nature and likeness of humanity.
 
I remember my old school chaplain in his homily at one school carol service explaining that
the gift of children and the gift of the Christ child in particular should make a difference to
people. He illustrated this be recounting a trip he took on a train from Leeds to
Birmingham, in the days of the old-fashioned corridor coaches with compartments. His
fellow passengers, weary from their Christmas shopping, or work at the office, slumped
into their seats, and hiding behind their evening newspapers settled down in silence to the
journey home. Then, a little later, as the train stopped at Sheffield station, a family with a
new born baby and all the paraphernalia young babies require, (which is in my limited
experience is totally disproportionate to their size), got on and entered the compartment in
the hope of finding two seats together.
 
As cases and changing bags were stowed into the luggage racks above, passengers
moved to make space for the ‘Moses basket’ on the seats below between the young
couple; it was, he said, as if someone had flicked a switch - people began to look over their
papers, to smile at each other and even to engage in conversation with those around them
and the compartment came alive. It is perhaps just a small and even sentimental snapshot
but somehow well over 40 years later I can remember that illustration and the point ‘Dear
Old Rev Baker’ was trying to get across. For children do make a difference, they do get
people talking to each other and yes amongst all the crying and inevitable changing of
nappies they do put a smile on people’s faces, above all else they do make a significant
difference to the way life is lived.
 
The birth of Christ which we celebrate each and every Feast of the Nativity, united and still
unites people the world over, young and old, rich and poor, in a spirit of celebration and
thankfulness. For some it is perhaps only for a short time, a day or even a few hours, but
for others the difference which that Child of Bethlehem made and still makes becomes life
changing.
 
So when it finally arrives, have a very joyful peaceful and blessed Christmas.
Fr. Tim





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