Ashdon Village Magazine – Christmas 2019

This will be my last article for the Ashdon Village Magazine, as Bozy and I will be leaving the Vicarage, All Saints’ Church and the village at Christmas.  As I approach my three score years and ten, I will be hanging up my dog collar and we will be moving to Old Harlow.

I hope I will have the opportunity to say good-bye to many of you at the services over Christmas in All Saints’.  I will miss the wonderful candlelit atmosphere as the village comes together at the Carol Service and the Christingle to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  ‘Awesome’ is a word dulled by over-use, but there is nothing in human history more awesome than this, that the creator of the universe became one of us.  He did this to show his love for the creatures he had made, going through the same process as each of us of birth, development, maturing and even death.  He grew up in Nazareth in Galilee, a village like ours; he probably went to school just like the pupils at Ashdon Primary School, and worked in the family business amongst people he had known all his life.  God chose an ordinary village girl to be Jesus’ mother and a hard-working carpenter to be his adopted father, so he had what we know to be the best start in life.

When he was in his thirties, Jesus was part of another village: Bethany in Judea.  He knew he would be arrested, tortured and executed in the great city of Jerusalem, but Bethany was the place he came back to again and again to draw strength from the community there.  His friends were always there for him and he gave back to them, even raising one of their number from the dead (read about this in John’s Gospel, chapters 11 and 12).  If village life sustained Jesus, then it can do the same for us, if we are willing to engage with those around us and with the one who found his place in those two villages.

If I don’t manage to speak to you before we leave, let me use this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone here in Ashdon, to the village community, to Gavin and the Baptist Church, to pupils, staff and governors at Ashdon Primary School and especially to the church family at All Saints’.

Every blessing

Richard Spencer, Team Vicar, All Saints’ Church, Ashdon