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Viewpoint from Carolyn Cliff 17/12/10

Carolyn Cliff, St Nicholas Church, Great Yarmouth
I was licensed as a 'Reader' in the Church of England in2009 and am based at St Nicholas and St James Churches in Great Yarmouth 
 Dove right
Travelling, whether for a short or long distance, is a part of all our lives. We may just pop to the shops for that unplanned item we have forgotten. It can be the daily run to work or our weekly trip to church – something we probably do not take much thought over as it is part of our routine living
But then there are other journeys which take more thought and planning. That trip to see the specialist at the hospital. A day out with friends or family which we have planned and been looking forward to. Then there are those longer journeys that can take us to exotic places abroad. More preparation time to get passports and visas, inoculations, tickets, and money, along with the packing up, and getting to the departure point
dove left 
For many this month, preparations are being made for celebrating Christmas. Trips to shops to buy presents, wrapping paper, cards, and stamps. Cards to write and letters to post. Then there will be the food and drink to buy for the 'big days'. Some of us will take the opportunity of planning and travelling to see family or friends, or just taking some time off work and going on holiday
For Christians we are still in the season of Advent and we are waiting and preparing ourselves to celebrate Christmas. It is a time of reflection and looking forward to how we live out our journey of faith during the next year as well as preparing for the God's gift of Jesus in our lives
Mary and Joseph journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem for a census. To be counted. I'm sure with Mary being heavily pregnant it was no easy journey. And giving birth to Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, was not easy in a stable. But it was, and is, all part of God's plan for healing the rift between sinful human beings and the Holy God
Shepherds were guided by God's angels to travel down from the hills, where they were caring for their sheep, to see for themselves the special baby that the angels sang about
Wise men travelled many days and nights through green lush valleys and over dusty dry deserts and would eventually come to this special family
Christmas reminds us all of our need for God's ever constant presence and forgiveness. Our ever constant need of seeking him in prayer and worship. That no-one is ever too young or too old. No-one is too lost. There is always hope of a new beginning. The story reminds us that we do not stay in one place but that our Christian journey is out of our churches and into the world. To share the 'Good News' that God's love and forgiveness is for all. To live out Jesus' commandment to love
God and our neighbour as ourselves
May God bless you this Christmas and in the coming New Year wherever you find yourselves