Kirk Braddan

A letter from the Vicar

From the December/January edition of Branch, the Kirk Braddan parish magazine


It can't seriously be nearly a year since last Christmas. These last three years have been the strangest in living memory, with time disappearing faster than anyone can remember. It's so common in conversation for someone to ask 'Where has this year gone …?'

But taking it further, to this time in 2019, none of us knew where things were going to go. Since Covid took over the world, time seems to have condensed further. It's nearly two years since we had to adapt to a new way of looking at things, and its tentacles continue to affect everyday life for so many.

Those living with long-term health problems continue to struggle with daily strategies to cope. Children have lost substantial education opportunities many of us took for granted when we were younger. The world economy has not recovered.

Then 2022 saw the travesty in Ukraine. What is only nine months of conflict has produced decades of devastation.

Time, meanwhile, seems to have shrunk the past few years into what so many of us feel is a short space. Such is the way we try and cope during crises.

When crises hit, it feels as if time stops. It both disappears and stands still, providing a bubble in which we simply exist, trying to understand those things around us when we are knocked off-course or out of kilter. Which can be as confusing as whatever crisis it is we are dealing with: Covid, family finances, the death of a loved one.

But that is where the gift of time is a unique blessing. In those moments when it seems to stop we are held in a place we do not understand, but which understands us. It gives us the space we need to process and try to live again. To take breaths and try to be calm. To begin again.

When time speeds up and seems to disappear, it can smooth the memories of whatever tragedies we felt 'back then'. It provides a balming cool to whatever heat of pain was causing trauma. It can make things more bearable to live with.

God's time works far beyond anything we can imagine, but exists to benefit us more than anything else. That when we find ourselves surrounded by seemingly impossible odds or obstacles, if we hold on for as long as possible we discover the truth of the beauty that is beyond time.

Christmas exemplifies that above all else: that during the world's darkest moments the universe's Light shone through. For centuries people cried out for a time of healing and peace. Jesus arrived at the time which was needed, for the world then to start again.

It can feel like little has changed. That times now are still dark; that people have not learned. But this world is different from the one Jesus appeared in. We have a model to learn from which had not previously existed.

We have no excuse. That is why, three years ago, when disaster struck, people rallied. Communities formed to recognise the needs of their neighbours like never before.

It is why the conflict in Ukraine is recognised as an unconscionable evil which must be defeated. And why those fleeing have found loving homes to be welcomed into.

It is why each of us learns every day to care for those around us. Those who need us. Those who have no-one else but us.

Without Christmas, without Jesus, this world would not have the hope it now does.

I hope: that God gives you the abundance of His blessings this Christmas and beyond.

God bless.