If my Gran Place was alive today, she would be asking me how many mince pies I’d eaten. This was not to find out whether I’d been greedy but to ascertain whether I’d eaten the magic number 12 – which I think tied in with the 12 days of Christmas that take you up to Epiphany, or, as a parishioner in a previous parish of mine told me, for the 12 months of the year. Now whether this was something just peculiar to the Place family or it was on a national scale, I have no idea but the result was that for many years I couldn’t bear the sight of a mince pie. (Can I just add at this point that, since I have been introduced to the wonderful mince pies made by John Marsden and his homemade mincemeat, I could actually eat thousands of them now!!!)
I wonder how many of you have taken your trimmings down yet – or how many will do so on the 6th January. I must admit, I sometimes think that it rather strange that on one hand we can’t wait for Christmas to come – and then as soon as it’s here we are hurrying to get the New Year in and get back to normal, when actually, it’s only just the beginning.
If we were children living in Spain we would still be waiting as they don’t celebrate Christmas until 6th January. My cousin, along with many others, will be placing their shoes on the windowsills the night before waiting for the gifts from the three kings.
Epiphany reminds us that the birth of Jesus is not about a one-night wonder. Although, initially, it was only the local people of Bethlehem who knew of the birth, he wasn’t born to be King of a select few. With the light and guidance of the star, wise men/kings travelled from far and wide to witness and pay homage to their new born King. And rightly so – after all, we’re talking about the Saviour of the World here! At last, those who had been living in darkness had seen the light and we too are invited, once again, to walk in His presence as children of light, through Him who is the light of the world, Jesus, the Christ.
I pray that the Church, by the leading of the light that first brought people from various nations to worship before the Child, gives guidance to all those who seek; to all those reaching out to extend their vision and their lives.
I pray that our churches and each one of us as individuals may be welcoming and sensitive to all who are looking for meaning and purpose.
I pray for peace where there is war, and food for those who are hungry.
I pray that Andy and his 300 colleagues building hospitals and roads to relieve suffering in South Sudan will return safely from their task.
I pray for tolerance for those who are refugees; for those displaced and in a foreign land.
I pray that the light of Christ will lead all of us into the way of peace and that we can be Christ-like in all we do.
May the light of Christ be with you and all those you love at the beginning of this New Year and in the days and weeks and months to come.
With love and blessings to you all