Christmas looks like it’s going to be a little different this year. As I write, we’re just at the beginning of what appears to be another spike in coronavirus, and over the last couple of weeks restrictions have come into place nationally and regionally to try and level off the increase. The UK government is talking about measures being in place for at least another six months, just as we have marked six months since the beginning of lockdown.
We usually have high hopes for Christmas. Some of our hopes include being with family and friends, sharing meaningful moments together. We hope for outreach opportunities as people are generally more open to come to a carol service than any other church event. Not to mention our hopes for gifts, food and experiences. Unfortunately it looks like we will have to adjust our hopes this year. Maybe though, this will help us see even more clearly the hopes that have been realised in God entering our humanity.
In light of all this, we have a wonderful selection of articles to fuel hope and warm the heart to the great miracle of Jesus’ birth. Sheila Stephen draws our attention to some of the women in the story and Dai Woolridge creatively spends some time in Joseph’s shoes. Ceri Passmore shares some Christmas recipes alongside a Christmas memory and Mark Johnston meditates on the humiliation of Jesus in being born into this world. Taking things in another direction with hope, I spend some time thinking about the future hope of the new creation for the Christian. We finish up with some Christmas themed book reviews.
In addition to all that, we round up our series on Coffee Table Theology looking at God’s omnipresence with Andrew Norbury, Gary Clayton introduces us to the work of MAF in their 75th year and Bernard Lewis, having reached a certain stage of life himself, ponders retirement for the full-time Christian worker. In his wonderful style, Andy Christofides gives us five true experiences of every Christian, John Woolley shares about the change that happens to a person in their conversion and Laura Robinson gives her story of how this happened to her. We also have John Funnell’s thoughts on sharing Jesus with those whose identity may be an obstacle to faith as well as some news on various works and situations across Wales.
Through this edition, ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 15:13).