You’re okay! You’ve made it, you have almost reached Christmas! You may be a bit battered, bruised and confused or disoriented but you have made it this far. You may have lost loved ones this year and their passing has been made all the more difficult by the current circumstances. You or those around you may have been ill or you may have lost your job or had your hours reduced. The holiday you were looking forward to didn’t happen, there may have been much about this year that has been tough but it’s Christmas and despite everything we can cheer ourselves with some subdued festive celebrations. As followers of Jesus, we can rejoice in the presence of God in our lives. God became Man in the manger at Bethlehem and dwelt among us, Jesus became one of us to communicate God’s most profound love to us, that is our true consolation as we celebrate this Christmas.
This year has been a very strange one for St Bon’s as a Parish. I have never considered that I would see the state sanctioned closure of Churches for Public worship but for four months of this year our doors were closed for Mass and for three of those we were closed completely. Despite this, our community of faith has been very much alive! An engaged group of parishioners have been meeting online throughout the lockdowns and an amazing group of people have returned to Mass. To see this engaged community coming to Mass each week has given me fresh hope in these challenging times. Thank you! Before our doors re-opened in July those of you who had formed a vibrant online community on Instagram and Zoom had been a great source of consolation to me. Our online connections have flourished this year. There is a real faith at the heart of our community, and it gives me great hope for the year ahead. Before March we were developing wonderful plans to be a more welcoming and outward looking community, think those plans will come to fruition in 2021. There is a lot to be hopeful for. I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard this year to make St Bon’s a vibrant community of hope!
The first thanks go to a new and very visible group – our new Stewards. Thank you to all of you who have given up so much of your time and energy to help make Mass a safe and welcoming experience for all of us. Then there are just too many people to thank individually; our musicians, sacristans, welfare group, finance committee, gardening team, the flower team, the linen washers those who had led zoom groups, those who have continued their standing orders (for some, even though they have not been able to come to Mass). Your generosity is exceptional, thank you. To all who have contributed financially during these difficult times. There are those who organise and make content for our Social Media. There are those of you who pray daily for the parish, those prayers mean so much, thank you! I would like to say a big thank you to everyone. We know that Jesus gives our lives meaning and purpose, let’s pray that this Christmas each of us may feel His presence more deeply and in our turn share his love with each other and those in our world who are seeking His presence in their lives. I hope your Christmas celebrations this year will provide you with some respite and refreshment in the midst of everything else. I pray that this Christmas will be for you and your family a Merry Christmas!