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Letter from Janet Southgate

29 December 2020


Dear friends


Well – Christmas Day has been and gone. How was it for you? Very different from normal times I guess. However, I hope that in spite of all of the restrictions it contained some lovely moments for you, as it did for me.


I, like many, stayed put! I had made the decision before the strict regulations came into place, and I must say that once decided, I began to look forward to a 'different' Christmas. To doing, or experiencing some of the things that are on my list of intentions, but never get fulfilled - just one of them being to enjoy the midnight carols, or the service that brings in Christmas Day. Usually in our family we are all too tired having prepared some of the food and generally got things as ready as we can, and we just want to get into bed.


So this year I 'went' by technology of course, to the Methodist Central Hall Westminster, and really enjoyed their service which included a Love Feast. There were other things that I enjoyed watching or listening to, which I am ashamed to say normally, although intended, get crowded out. Just writing that makes me think that that's just what happened to the infant Jesus on that first Christmas. He was crowded out – all accommodation taken, except for a stable – shared with the animals. And I am sad to say that he still gets crowded out – in my life too. Intentions are good, but we so easily get overcrowded and overtaken. Can I, in this coming year put that right? Can you?


Lock down has been a very lonely and frustrating time for many, but I give thanks as I guess you will be doing too, that the light of a vaccine is shining, and we remember and thank God for the scientists who have worked so hard to bring this about. And there are the medics who put their lives on the line as they care for the sick, and the many other public workers who serve us week in and week out, but do not often get a mention. We thank God too for neighbours and friends who have carried out many kindnesses that have given joy.


So, as we prepare to enter a New Year, let us do so with hope, looking forward to better days, for they will come. Let us continue to watch out for each other, taking the time to make contacts, and pray for each other too. Let us look forward to our times of worship and fellowship without so many restrictions when that becomes possible, and being able again to serve each other and the wider community as we seek to find ways of doing that. And further afield let us remember those for whom home, and a bed, and food, and peace, are just a dream. Can we do all that we can about that too? I am asking myself that question.


I am glad to have had the opportunity to write to you all. I miss you. But I am sending you love and prayers for a healthier and better 2021, for us all, and for the whole wide world!


God bless you and keep you safe and well


With love




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