Barham Downs Churches

  • The Rectory
  • The Street, Barham
  • Canterbury
  • Kent
  • CT4 6PA

01227 668190
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And so Mary gave birth to hope
in uncertainty, darkness,
journeying and exclusion;
And the message of hope was heard
by shepherds, out on the edge.
And now hope is found
in a vulnerable, helpless child 
                               Advent Litany, Peter Cole

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him – give my heart. 
          In the bleak midwinter, C. G. Rossetti

As December begins it is not as if we are just about to anticipate (Advent) Christmas as Social and Consumer Media will have done an intense job in saturating our senses for several weeks already. Nevertheless, in our churches we bring about the extraordinariness of what the festivities are about starting with our Advent Family Service on the 3rd December and with Christmas explored and celebrated right up to when we have our Christingle Service on Epiphany, 6th January. Christmas is a time of joy and of giving; of sharing and of families and friends coming together. Yet the very first Christmas was far from being a comfortable and warm occasion with a young Jewish woman from an obscure part of the Roman Empire riding a hundred miles on a donkey in late-stage pregnancy and then suffering the indignation of giving birth in a stable. Today in what is considered a wealthy nation young families are increasingly feeling the financial pinch or sliding further into abject poverty – feeling excluded from the rest of society even – very much like the shepherds of Jesus’ time. As a community we should be aware of those around us who would benefit from kind neighbourly assistance (young or old) so to help ease the bleakness of the coming winter and where for some the Food Bank will be a vital need. In the New Year the churches of the benefice will set up a modest Pastoral Relief Fund to assist with one-off payments where there is an urgent need in people’s circumstances and this will be launched in the 10am service in Barham on the 23rd December where the collection that is taken will begin this initiative. In the spirit of giving I invite you to attend and to truly help bring Christmas home.
With all good blessings.