A lot can happen in a year - December 2018

 Ministers Message Tim Clarke-Wood
A lot can happen in a year
A lot can happen in a year, can’t it? A year ago at Christmas time my little family were living in North Devon. We were unsure what the New Year would bring and where we would end up living by the time the next Christmas came along. Here we are in Cambridge doing our best to settle into a new environment with a very different culture to North Devon. A year ago our girls had settled lives and settled friends – a year later our girls are discovering new friends and new relationships. A year ago Claire was working at a small hospital in Barnstaple and a year on she is at the famous ‘Rosie’ at Addenbrookes.
A lot can happen in a year. But a lot can happen in a single moment. Our lives can be dramatically changed in a single moment. At Christmas time we celebrate and remember that in a single moment of history, in an unimportant place – Bethlehem – the most significant event in all of history took place. It’s incredible to think that the moment when Jesus was born was the moment when God declared to all the earth that God’s love had arrived permanently into our world. Love Came Down – Jesus was born.
‘Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’. John 1:12,14
‘This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him’ 1 John 4:9.
Love Came Down means all sorts of things for all sorts of people:
• Love Came Down means that we can be called children of God.
• Love Came Down means that God has stepped into history as a full human being in order to show us grace and love and how to take hold of life that is really life.
• Love Came Down means that God has chosen to deal decisively with the problem of sin, evil and death in the world.
• Love Came Down means that in our new relationship with God we are able to demonstrate real and powerful love to each other. Not soppy sentimental rubbish but love that changes lives and brings hope.
I wonder as we give space to reflect on the last year of our lives can we consider what has changed. For most of us there will have been steady ‘ups’ and ‘downs’; moments that we celebrate and moments we regret. I guess that’s life. Yet I hope we can reflect and acknowledge that God has been with us.
For others of us there might have been single moments that have forever changed our lives. Perhaps the death of a loved one and in that single moment we know that things can never be the same again. Perhaps we have experienced single moments of such joy that our lives have been reshaped – the birth of a new child for instance. Again, I hope, we can reflect and acknowledge that God has been with us, not only in the general moments of life but also in the significant occurrences that rewrite our lives.
What I hope to express in this simple message is that we belong to a God who is Lord of all our lives. Lord in the general aspects of our how we live and Lord in the momentous times that happen for us. There is a reason that God entered into this world – in Jesus we know a love that won’t abandon us, won’t abuse us; a love that is boundless in every direction. It’s a love that gives hope to the hopeless. At Christmas time we say to ‘Love Came Down’ – Jesus – “please continue to be the greatest moment of hope and love the world could ever know”. A lot can happen in a year, or a single moment, but know that God is with us – Emmanuel.