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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Luke relates how Mary and Joseph are made to go on a long journey to Bethlehem to fulfil the demands of the Roman Emperor and be registered for a census. They arrive late, perhaps because of Mary’s condition, and find that there is nowhere left for them to stay. And so, the baby Jesus is born in the grime and filth of a stable. God becomes human, not in a palace, but in a place for housing animals. This shows the immensity of God’s humility and love.

But this story is so much more than an account of events that happened some 2000 years ago. We are mistaken if we think of the nativity as an event that is locked in the past. Properly understood it is a message of good news for every age and for all peoples. It is an eternal gospel. In the incarnation God has acted decisively once and for all towards his creation to reveal his love to all peoples and all generations who believe in him. This shows us the immense generosity of God. St Paul tells us of how, in the incarnation, Christ Jesus ‘though he was in the form of God … emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.’ (Philippians 2:6-8).

How should we respond to such generosity and sacrifice?

Shortly we will be embarking upon a stewardship campaign. We will be asked to reflect upon how, in response to God’s generosity to us, we might be generous to God and his Church, and the building up of his Kingdom. How are we:

Generous with our Labour.

In what ways can we offer ourselves to God in all that we do for Him here at St. George’s?

Generous in our Interactions.

In what ways are we generous in the small things in life, including our daily interactions with other people?

Generous in our financial giving to the Church.

What this will look like will be different for each person, depending on individual circumstances. No one should be expected to give more than can be realistically afforded. Jesus’ words about the widow’s mite teaches us that for some a small amount might be incredibly generous. (Mark 12:42).

Generous in our Expertise:

In what ways do we share the skills, gifts and experience we have been given to benefit others and the Church?

Our Stewardship Campaign will be launched on Sunday January 29th, when we will be celebrating the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemass). On that day our 8AM and 10AM Eucharist will be slightly different than normal but our intention is that you will find what we do will be informative, prayerful and even enjoyable!

For now, please pray for those who are planning the Stewardship Campaign, and for each one of us here at St George’s, as we seek to reflect on the ways in which we can respond generously to the God who has been so generous to us.

A Prayer by St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)

Dearest Lord,
teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for reward
save that of knowing I am doing Your Will.

With love and prayers.

Fr Colin

How can we respond to God’s amazing generosity?

It seems to me that the Christmas story, and the events leading up to it, never fails to touch us, unless we have become totally cynical and worldly minded, or think the Christmas story is nothing more than a fable, acted out once a year in a children’s nativity play.

Why is it that for Christians this story of the birth of the Christ child still works its magic on us? I believe it is because in the events of Christmas God almighty meets us in a profoundly loving, humble and simple way. The nativity is the story of God choosing to take flesh and become human, not as a person of wealth, privilege or status, but as a child born in poverty in a stable.

The gospel accounts of Christ’s birth have become very familiar to us, though I suspect that our own understanding of what happened is based upon a combination of the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Mark does not have a nativity narrative, and John gives a more philosophical and theological understanding of the incarnation. The story, as told by Matthew and Luke, furnishes us with a very human drama about a village carpenter from Nazareth, his wife to be, Mary, who is expecting their first child out of wedlock. This in itself adds an element of scandal into the story (at least it would have seemed so to first century Jewish folk). And then there is the miraculous, which trumps the scandal. The child to be is born not of human flesh, but through the agency of the Holy Spirit, and this child is to be the son of God.

Christmas  2022 & New Year issue

From the Vicar, Fr Dr Colin Lawlor