Letter from the Rectory
Judith introduces her parishoners to Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John.
Many thanks to all those who packed Christmas shoe boxes for Smile International. We sent 74 boxes. If you would like to find out more about the organisation and the children they help there are magazines available in Denver Church. A special thank you to Hilda Bungay, Marion Charlesworth and Carol Hewitt who co-ordinated the shoe box project. Next year the boxes will be collected on 1st November. Why not start collecting small items for them in the January sales!
Talking of Christmas boxes, have you come across the children's book, "Treasures of the Snow", by Patricia St. John, which has also been made into a feature film? I can really recommend it as a Christmas present for any child of primary school age and I still enjoy re-reading it myself . It is set in Switzerland. Here is an extract:
Thirty little rosy-faced children in woolly hoods gazed open mouthed at the tree; only three days ago it had been weighed down with snow in the cold forest near Dani's house. Now it was jewelled and decked and glistening, festooned with oranges, chocolate sticks and shining gingerbread bears...
As the babies strayed to their seats with backward looks at the tree, the old pastor climbed into the pulpit. He had been pastor in that village for forty-five years and everybody loved him. His beard was so long and white that Dani, with his head full of the tree, got him mixed up in his mind with Father Christmas and wondered why he was wearing a black coat instead of a red one.
Now he looked down on the people that he loved and knew, name by name and soul by soul. He was a very old man - this might be his last Christmas message. He prayed that he might speak words that would not be forgotten.
Annette, Dani's sister, listened rather dreamily to the story she knew so well, until the old man suddenly repeated the words that had always haunted her every Christmas since the night when she had imagined herself the mother Mary, with all doors shut against her.
"There was no room for them ... - no room for HIM!"
In the unhurried manner of very old people he repeated it three times, and each time Annette thought the words sounded sadder. How quickly she would have opened her door!
"And yet", went on the old man, "tonight the Saviour is still standing at closed doors - there are still hearts that have never made room for him. This is what he says:-
"Listen, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in...""
What will you do about him this Christmas? Will you open the door or will you leave him standing outside? Will those sad words be said about you, "There was no room for him?"
So, may I wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year.