Minister’s Update Christmas 2020

Dear friends

Mindful of the recent changes that suddenly plunged some of you into Tier 4 – I hope this finds you in reasonable spirits, despite this being a very different kind of Christmas this year. For all who have had to change or cancel plans, or may be spending Christmas alone, I wish you some moments of festive cheer and a collective sense of solidarity – remaining connected with others in spirit.

I was glad our Christmas / Solstice service in the Chapel on Sunday was able to go ahead as planned with a small number of us gathered, though disappointed a few folk were unable to come at the last minute, due to the new restrictions.  For those who were unable to come to the Chapel or Zoom in – here is a photo of our little potted Christmas tree. I hope it will survive in the Chapel grounds, so more of us can enjoy it next Christmas! Also a photo of the window decorations – where Christine Hayhurst worked her usual magic:

Christmas tree     Christmas window 2

Reflecting back on the past year – despite the many down sides and challenges to our community – on the plus side, thanks to Zoom, we’ve had people joining us for Sunday services and meditation sessions who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to – Unitarians, and others, from across Surrey, Kent, Sussex, the South Coast, Scotland, Wales – and Paris! And I feel heartened by feedback from others, who are staying connected by reading through the service/ meditation scripts, or catching up with recordings at home.

With the prospect of Waverley going into Tier 4 on Boxing day and the rise in Covid cases, it looks as though we will be relying on virtual services for some time to come. The pandemic is dragging on longer than we hoped, but speaking to Chapel member, Gerry Hofner, on the phone earlier this week, he quoted a wise saying translated from the German, which seems apt for these times:  “Everything passes over, everything goes by. After every December there’s a May”.

And whatever the challenges of these times – however muted our festivities – remembering the simple truths of the first Christmas 2000 years ago – and the realisation of the Grinch….

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,                                                  Stood puzzling and puzzling: ” How could it be so?”                                                                   “It came without ribbons! It came without tags!                                                                          “It came without packages, boxes or bags!”                                                                                 And he puzzled three hours, till his ouzzler was sore,                                                                 Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!                                                 “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.                                             “Maybe Christmas…perhaps… means a little bit more!”

 (How the Grinch stole Christmas- by Dr Seuss)

 …. May we each find that ‘little bit more’ this Christmas; perhaps different from what we wanted or expected – but a gift of sorts, none-the-less – touched by the true meaning of the season, and finding our hearts like the Grinch, growing a few sizes larger.…

On this Christmas day, as we remember the birth of the Christ child and his message of love and hope for all humankind, I offer words of blessing by Rev Elizabeth Birtles:

I wish for you many of your own Bethlehems
Where suddenly – into the darkest coldest night –                                                                      New hope is born:
Where suddenly a natal light reveals
New possibility and potency for new action.
I wish for you, time and time again
The bright angelic flash of your own Bethlehem

In faith and hope, Sheena