Revd Georgie Hadley writes;  

Bethlehem Journey   

 The end of the year and I have to say I will be glad to see it go. I would like all things nasty to end with the year but that isn't going to happen. On the other hand, it is the start of a new year for the church as we enter into the season of Advent. We have had in the last few months the usual events: Halloween, Bonfire night and Remembrance Sunday. This year we have the added excitement of an election! For many, each event will have memories both good and bad.

 This is such an exciting time of the year for so many, but for others they may be swallowing hard knowing that Christmas is round the corner and that it is something they may dread. But what will your journey to Bethlehem be like?

 I journeyed to Bethlehem in a coach with fellow clergy. You go down a lovely road these days, but you come to a sudden stop. In front of you is a Great Wall. It has doors but they are only ever opened for dignitaries. The way in is through a check-point, which can take a few minutes or hours to get through depending on the guards.

    Those living in Bethlehem are corralled behind the wall. They are watched by guards in turrets, yet they just get on with their lives. When I visited, Christmas was still evident there. A huge Christmas tree and an amazing nativity scene in Manger Square. We visited the possible place where Jesus may have been born.

 

Spending time behind the wall reminds you of the restrictions to life and faith. Christmas is celebrated in many different ways around the world. The Orthodox Christians Celebrate on the 7th/ 8th of January and the possible place of his birth is in the Orthodox Church. The Armenians Celebrate on the 18th January. We forget our way is not the only way to celebrate. Everyone's journey through Advent to Christmas will be different.

 

Archbishop Sentamu has written a book called, ‘Wake Up To Advent.’ This may be of help on your journey.

 

This edition of the magazine also covers the new year period.  New year can be a time to turn over a new leaf. A time when gym membership goes up and self-help books are sold. There is one book you can find so much in - the Bible. It is actually made up of a whole library of books; 66 books in total, about history, law, some would say fantasy, or science fiction. 

Others would say explanations and prophecy, love stories, murder, intrigue, helpful advice, wisdom, stories of families, a story of a good man or prophet some would say. Christians would say the story of God’s son, Jesus. There is so much to discover, pick a book, perhaps start with the Gospel of Mark or dip into the poetry of the Psalms. There are many useful books to help you find a reading plan. Best of all there are many translations like ‘The Message’ which are translated into modern language too.

Go to Biblegateway.com and you can read for free! Go on give it a try, what have you to lose?

 May God bless you this Christmas and have a Happy New Year

 

 

Rev'd.  Georgie Hadley