The Nene Crossings Benefice

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Dear all,


Christmas is about to end, the season traditionally finishes at Candlemas on the 2nd February, when we remember the babe Jesus, being brought into the temple for presentation, during which he was recognised by the prophets Simeon and Anna to be the future messiah.  In this way the link between Christmas and Easter is established, the babe in the stable is revealed to be the man on the cross.

I am hoping in future years we can add visibility to this link of the two great seasons in our church calendar through the use of our ‘Christmas Tree’. The tree I am hoping will take on a number of roles, as it tells this story of the mystery of incarnation and salvation we know as the Christian faith.

As you will have seen we first brought it into church on Advent Sunday, and we decorated it in purple, as our ‘Advent Tree’, it was a sign of the hope to come, a challenge to us to prepare the way for the birth of Jesus, and to accept Jesus into our hearts as we prepare for our own meeting with him. A sign of the here and now, and the yet to come that Advent is all about.  On Christmas eve it was transformed, it shed it’s purple baubles and received golden ones instead. Marking the majesty of the birth of the Son of God  (I hope in future years to build on this making it a ‘Christmon’ Tree, decorated in gold and bearing symbols of the Christian Gospel  revealed through Christmas and Epiphany. The tree will stay up until Candlemas (a tradition older than 12th night!) , when it will then take its rest, but only for a few weeks this year. It will return again, but a different form. Shorn of its branches it will form a cross on Ash Wednesday, and over Lent we will hang from it symbols of the Christ’s passion, before decorating it in flowers for Easter Day… where it will stay until Pentecost. (you can’t say we don’t get out money’s worth out of it!) , in some traditions the wood is then used to burn in the bonfire for the Holy Fire on the following years Easter Vigil…….

The cycle is complete and we are visibly reminded that we do not celebrate two distinct and individual festivals, but two festivals that reflect two sides of the same coin, so to speak, and are centred on the same person. Jesus Christ.

 

With Love and Prayers

 

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