Pastor's message

A 2020 Christmas message from our Pastor Sarah Phillpot

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

So begins a famous hymn written almost 300 years ago, but what does hope look like in these dark days? As I am writing this we are just five days into lockdown#2; the days are short, its raining although not cold, Christmas shopping can’t begin (unless you count online shopping) and we can’t meet up with our families and friends.

Perhaps hope looks like setting out on a donkey for an 80-mile journey when you’re 9 months pregnant and trusting that you’ll find somewhere to stay when you arrive.

Hope is a powerful commodity. It can sustain us through our fears when we just want to collapse in tears of frustration and grief. It can give us the strength to carry on in the most difficult of times. When we were buying that popular wartime phrase ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, little did we know that we would be required to live it, not just enjoy in on our mugs and cushions.

Maybe hope is trusting that the wolves won’t eat your sheep as you stumble off down the hillside in the middle of the night to find a baby that you’ve heard about from a sky-full of angels.

Hope is believing that our lovely independent shops in Bishopston will be open for shopping in person again in time for Christmas and holding off ordering from the online giants. The Bible has a different name for this, calling it faith. Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see (Hebrews 11:1)

This is the season of hope. Glad tidings of great joy said the angels, they said nothing about certainty. This season challenges us to filled with hope, whether it is for the coming of the Son of God, or the availability of a vaccine, or both.

May the joy of the season fill your days with hope.