The Vicar's Letter (written by Roger Chapman, Priest in Charge of St Mary's Church in Eaton Bray) has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since November 2009
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Vicar's Letter

December 2009

First of all, I would like to begin this letter with a sincere expression of my thanks to all of you who helped with my licensing to Eaton Bray with Edlesborough on November 2nd. It was lovely to meet so many of you who came to support me on this occasion. Many, many thanks. I generally read Morning Prayer at 9am. and Evening Prayer at 5pm in St Mary's and so if anyone would care to join me for these times I would be delighted.

I have been very lucky in my life to be able to travel, and have been periodically to northern Europe and Scandinavia. I have found that Sweden in the winter months, and particularly around the month of December and leading up to Christmas is a real wonder of little spots of warmth and light. I can remember wandering around the old town in Gothenburg in fl urries of snow, and wondering where I could fi nd a place to eat. Only then to realise that most of the restaurants had become underground basement retreats, down intriguing stairways lit with enormous beautiful outdoor candles shining the way. Once inside, there was always in abundance, a welcome of warmth and hospitality. For me, therein lies the magical mystery of this time of year; our intention to fi nd or to carry ideas and memories of warmth, light and a regained sense of wellbeing in order to illuminate the darkness, perhaps in the most unusual or unlikely places.

It is this theme of light in the darkness that is central to our celebration of Christmas. We have the stories of the fi rst Christmas which abound with images of light. The star which shines in the night sky, in order to guide the wise men to the place of Jesus' birth, is bursting with radiance, and the night sky is fi lled with light as the Angels bring the news of Jesus' birth to the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks.

Nobody really knows the day, the month or the season of Jesus' birth, but surely there can be no accident that Jesus' birth has been associated with the darkness of the winter solstice, and the 'night' time. In the middle of the night, on the longest night of the year, Jesus is born. He is, 'the true light that enlightens everyone, the light of the world'. All of the imagery leads us to see Jesus' birth into the world as an event that will be truly life giving.

This shift from darkness to the birth of the one true light I would like to suggest is called in another word, 'Hope'. God comes into the world and brings Hope to all. My wish for this lead up to Christmas is that in all the rush and preparations, we may glimpse once again perhaps in the most unusual of places, the Hope of the Christ Child.

May I take this opportunity to wish you a peaceful and blessed Christmas.

Roger Chapman


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About the Vicar's Letter

The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.

The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the area for these.