Great Casterton Parish Council

Serving the people of Great Casterton

Clerk: Derek Patience
29 Priory Gardens, Stamford
PE9 2EG

Tel: 01780 753066

December Newsletter

Hi Everyone,

As I write this article for the December newsletter, we are five weeks away from Christmas and still no clarity on what celebrations we will be permitted to have in church. One thing is clear there will be no Christingle, no Carol service and no Crib service held in church at any rate. I'm afraid social distancing on mass events are likely to continue into the new year or until a vaccine has been distributed far and wide. These traditional services will continue in some format, but we shall have to be more innovative on how we present these classic celebrations.

There is much debate in the press at the moment for a five-day relaxation over the festive period to allow families to get together for Christmas. This will likely come with the cost on an extended lockdown well into January and many argue that this is too high a price for a five-day family celebration. Our family are spread far and wide, Ireland, Liverpool, London and Uppingham, we would dearly love to be with them at Christmas, but we would be happier by far to see the eradication of the Coronavirus and a faster return to the norm.

Whatever is decided by the Government the church will continue to celebrate Christmas as a major festival. It will just be in little different from what we are used to. It might even help us to concentrate our minds on the real reason for Christmas. The celebration of our Saviour's birth.

Let's face it, that first Christmas wasn't a bed of roses either, more likely a bed of straw. Instead of being in a period of lockdown the whole community experienced the opposite strategy, a period of concentration. Rome decreed that everyone was required to return to their place of birth for counting and taxation. Mary and Joseph, the pregnant mother and the less than enthusiastic husband, were also caught up in Government directives just as we are today and just like today no one much liked it but all complied otherwise it was death or imprisonment.

Crowd concentration, just like lockdown and isolation brings its own unique issues. Overcrowding, lack of accommodation, lack of medical attention. In many ways we are experiencing parallel limitations but from a series of totally different scenarios.

In the end it all turned out well for Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Their faith in a loving God shone through the difficulties and the same can be true for us. As we approach this unique Christmas time let's reflect more fully on the true nature of what we are celebrating. We, in church, will try our best to organise events that will replace the traditional. They may not be as good as what we have enjoyed in the past, but they will still be a celebration of Jesus's birth. We can give thanks for Zoom platforms, and drive in services which, if not ideal, can still bring us together as a church, a community and a family. If we are honest with ourselves, we have much more going for us as a community than those of the first Christmas and we need to be thankful for that.

So whatever lies before us this Christmas let's embrace it, work with it and look forward to better times in 2021. Keep an eye on those friends, neighbours and family members who are lonely and fearful. Make sure they remain safe and loved. Keep a regular look at the church noticeboard over the next few weeks as our plans develop for alternative Christmas services. Or, if you would like to receive our plans directly to your computer then send me an email.

Have a great Christmas and despite it being less than perfect from a family point of view, remember and reflect on the real reason, the birth of Jesus and his continuing influence in our lives and those we love even now in the twenty first century.

God Bless

Rev'd. Don