Whilst it is important to have words in place, what is much more important is ensuring that the reality matches the words. For us, that means going beyond the welcome on the first visit towards helping to create a place where others feel they can belong and play a part. Make a contribution. Even though we don’t mean it, this can be hard in church life – to the extent that one church expert resists using the name “family” to describe church. He argues that families are hard to get into – you are either born into them, adopted or get married into them! It’s important that we don’t make things that hard – yet also don’t lose the positive elements of family in the care, nurture, support and encouragement which families offer.
The last year has also been a busy year for Jane and I with our own family - and a big year as we became grandparents for the first time. Although I still haven’t got used to being called “Grandad!” Maybe I just don’t want to think of myself getting older but in amongst all that will happen in the next few weeks I’m looking forward to Eden’s first Christmas with us!
In a few weeks though we will celebrate the birth of a different child as we share together with millions around the world in remembering the birth of Christ. Someone whose birth was trumpeted by angels and highlighted by a star. Someone whose birth was “Good News for all the world” but was intimated first to those who were usually on the outside. Perhaps in that there is something for us in ensuring that in all we do that there is a special place for those who might otherwise feel excluded. That at Christmas Loanhead Church truly is “A place for everyone.”
With every blessing for Christmas and the New Year.