Lewis one of the residents of the community had the amazing pleasure, but also a nerve wrecking time preparing and delivering a sermon on Christmas day at Holy Trinity Church, Salcombe. Below is the sermon that he gave, although what was actually said was slightly different on the day
Hello and welcome. For those who do not know me, my name is Lewis and I am a member of The St Peter’s Foundation, a religious community that has been set up by the churches in Salcombe, Malborough, Galmpton and Hope Cove.
As part of being a member of the religious community, I have been asked to give the homily this morning. However, before I get onto my main message, I want to give you three quick facts about me:
1. I have a twin brother,
2. I graduated from university in the past year with a degree in analytical chemistry
3. My favourite breed of dog is the boxer, followed by Labrador
I hope that you now know me a bit better now. This morning I shall be sharing with you, what Christmas is, what it means to me and hopefully share some ideas that you can take forward with you from this morning.
As I am sure that you already know Christmas is the day that we celebrate the arrival of Christ, that is God’s Son on the earth in human form, Christ was born a baby. We celebrate this very joyous occasion, as God choose to send his Son to us so that we may be able to be viewed as perfect in God’s sight. An incredible thing to be viewed as in life.
Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, about sharing love with each other. It is about creating memories that will remain with us when we get older, about having memories that we are able to look back upon when we are feeling a bit low. I am sure that Mary and Joseph were unable to forget anything that happened to them during their amazing yet completely dangerous time on Earth and in particular during their most humbling days, when Mary was pregnant, with Jesus.
It is from their humbling time that we received the greatest present that we could ever receive, which is the present of love, hope, forgiveness and joy.
Now I am sure that all of you will have had a present or two from Santa Claus, Saint Nicolaus, Father Christmas or if you are from Aberdeen Sunti. What a lovely, happy, joyful moment it is to receive a present, whether it was something you asked or not, whether it was expected or not, it is always a happy moment to receive a gift. I am sure that whenever you got a present from Santa, it always seemed to be something that you needed or would use, even if it was not something that you asked for. That is love that Saint Nicolaus has for children and I encourage you to share that love. There is by all means a huge number of ways to share love at Christmas and just a few of them are: sending a card, a present, giving someone a hug, inviting them over for lunch/dinner on Christmas day and every way in which you can share love at Christmas is wonderful.
One such wonderful thing at Christmas is the carol services that go on, they are one of my favourite services in the year and have always marked the start of Christmas for me. Christmas is one of those few times in the year in which nothing seems to happen, it is although the world stops and we are able to just be, which is truly incredible. This is one of the blessings that Christmas brings, another one is the just the time when Christmas falls within the year, it is right at the very end of the year, in fact there are only 6 days after Christmas until the new year. I believe that this was deliberate set-up by God, as I believe that God uses our time of getting ready for Christmas as time of reflection of the year that has past. The reflection we do on the year is evident in the traditions each of us has, whether it be in writing and sending cards, sending presents, in our preparations for Christmas, in preparing rooms, homes, food, etc.
The reflection we find in these things is truly blesséd as the year that has past has been better than others for some, for some worse and for some no real difference, all of these are good reflections on the year that has gone. We have all had good moments, such as graduating from university, and bad moments, such as being ill and needing to hospital or being keep awake at night by your flatmates who like to party.
Although these seem like bad moments and experiences at the time, but in truth these are moments and experiences that shape the very being of who we are as people.
There are some moments that we reflect on during this time that make us feel bad or guilty over what we had done and as such we feel like we ought to be do something about it. The 6 days that come after Christmas are a perfect time to make an amends for it. This can be a difficult, it may not be easy but you will feel better afterwards. I you are unsure of how to start making an amends to someone that you have wronged, perhaps start with the words I am sorry… or I forgive you …
Christmas is a time of happiness, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Some of my fondest memories of Christmas involve arguments over who is cooking Christmas dinner, having heart to heart conversations with family members, having too much to drink, having fights with my twin over who’s turn it is on the playstation and even falling into a loch on a very cold, crisp Christmas day when the ice was just not thick enough to hold me.
Those are just some of the memories that I have from Christmases over the last 22 years of my life. I hope and pray that I am able to add more memories of Christmas that I can cherish. I hope and pray that you may be able to aswell.
And I shall finish with a traditional Scottish Blessing:
May the blessing of light be on you - light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen