Dear Brothers and Sisters

Jane and I have recently become grandparents for the first time and there is something very precious and wonderful about new life. This year there is a new baby in our family. And as Christmas approaches, we all find ourselves thinking about the image of baby Jesus lying in the manger. Our mind’s eye paints a picture of an infant asleep in a stable. We might imagine his crying or laughter as he reacts to those around him; a tiny little figure in a fragile world. From the moment of his birth, Jesus is responding to those around him, longing to hear their voice. In Jesus, God comes to us as an infant: approachable, pure, and eager for us to come close to him. As a child Jesus reaches out, arms outstretched eager for a response. Thirty-three years later those same arms would reach out on the cross, outstretched and open to the world in love and forgiveness.

As we enjoy Christmas with our friends and family let’s be reminded of this image. Let’s pray for God’s blessing and peace for all those in troubled parts of the world and pray they hear God’s call and respond with love. Let us also pray for God’s peace and blessing to fill our own lives and the lives of those around us. Amidst all the noise and distraction of Christmas let’s find a moment to be still and listen again to the call of Jesus. The Christmas message is as loud and clear today as any baby’s cry: Jesus, the Saviour of the World, is here and he’s yearning to hear our voice. May we respond by saying: ‘O Come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel.’ With warm best wishes,

+Peter Bath and Wells