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Viewpoint from Bishop Jonathan Meyrick 04/12/2015 

JONATHAN MEYRICKRt Rev Jonathan Meyrick
Bishop of Lynn

Apparently we are getting older in Norfolk! We now have the village with the biggest percentage of older people anywhere in the country. It is not always the case, but very often old age will bring with it an increasing amount of loneliness
Mary must have had significant moments of loneliness as she waited for the birth of Jesus. She faced the prospect of real isolation as a young single mother, and we don’t know how long it may have been before Joseph decided to stand by her. She has Joseph for company as they journeyed the length of their country to Bethlehem, but they faced loneliness of rejection as inn after inn was full. The Nativity story then pictures a variety of different kinds of company for them as the baby lies in a manger: human (both simple and sophisticated), animal and angelic
Through it all, Mary must have been conscious of the company of God, who had made it clear to her that this child was to be His answer to the needs of the world. That is the message of Christmas: through this baby, God’s companionship for all, his identification with anyone who is lonely, or hurt or despairing, is made real
I was asked to bless the cast of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular this year. It was a delight to do, and I greatly enjoyed the performance afterwards. I wrote a poem for the occasion, and this was its chorus:
dove left                                

                                In all this, God is our Companion,
                                A pilgrim like us, by wild tempests tossed:
                                Darkness descends, he holds the lantern;
                                His love shines brightly, makes gold of our dross.
                                In all this, God smiles from a stable
                                His vuln’rable weakness, close by our side,
                                Makes helplessness strong, turns the table:
                                Love is the answer, our goal and our guide

Dove rightSomebody once asked my daughter if the Twelve Days of Christmas song referred to the days before Christmas. No, those twelve days begin with Christmas Day. The period before is one of anticipation. But as anticipation becomes reality and the Twelve Days of Christmas properly begin, we might want to ask ourselves if we know of one person who is on their own this Christmas. Perhaps we could offer some companionship, and reflect the companionship offered by God