Pew Sermon for Christmas

Rutton’s thoughts on Christmas 2021

Hello again everyone. 

I was wondering what you might appreciate from me in this Christmas special edition of Pew news. A message of encouragement or good cheer would be usual, surely, for the time of year?

Well, I’m not too sure about that.

Take for example those round robin letters that many of us get at Christmas from people we haven’t spoken to all year.

In my case, old school friends are the chief culprits. The letters are often self-congratulatory, insensitive, and are simply full of the latest glorious success news about their extended family and their perfect life.

Harsh? Judgmental? Well – I wish I could show you some of them!

In the 1990s, we got fed up with little Johnny winning the trumpet prize and little Elizabeth competing for the junior Olympics team, especially when our own young family was really struggling with some really serious, non-success issues, to say the least.

A decade later, their offspring were all showing off their academic hoodsand fur-lined ermine as they collected their Masters’ certificates in advanced nuclear physics or whatever.  

And now, in 2021, pictures of their grandchildren fill their halls, their staircases, and their dining rooms, with beaming smiles, perfect health, and I daresay, the perfect life. And I have to say, I don’t believe a word of it, and in some cases I don’t read very far. 

Does that make me a miserable old grinch?

Yes, probably. 

But I think there is a deeper point here. Isn’t it more interesting, and more worthwhile, and more sincere, to share friendship with people who have been through difficult things, along with us, as opposed to those who “…laugh at scars that never felt a wound”?

Friendship is often founded on connection and shared experience. And in my experience, if that connected experience is full of difficult rather than easy things, it can be all the more valuable.

The friends that DON’T send me the round robin letters are the ones who have been through so much – bereavement, unsuccessful offspring, or other heartache. And they are all the more valued for that. They get a ‘phone call!

The Arabs have a proverb. All sunshine makes a desert. And, I think, they should know.

Which brings us back to, ‘where is our comfort and joy message from Rutton?’ I suspect.

Well, since I’ve been with you last June, we’ve been through some difficult times in church life. Difficult issues, last-minute pressures, and plans B C and D so often coming and going in fast order. 

But we’ve also had some great adventures together.

Some of the most unpromising situations have been the most uplifting, as I have experienced God working in our services, in our baptisms, our marriages, even our funerals. And all the home visiting I’ve done has been so very uplifting and rewarding – it’s been a real privilege to be involved with you in all these ways.

So let me end on that upbeat! It only leaves me to wish you a very sincere, and a very prayerful Happy Christmas, as we journey together through this time, and into the New Year.

P.S The four words for the green stole? Sadly, no one guessed it – “..strike the living fountains…” Because sometimes, though faith, you have to MAKE it happen!

Let’s do that, whenever things get tough in 2022. Because when we trust in God, and operate in faith, everything changes.