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Viewpoint from Canon Nick Garrard 23/12/2016 

NICK GARRARDCanon Nick Garrard
Nick is Rector of the Broadside Benefice (Ranworth with Panxworth, South Walsham and Upton and Fishley, Woodbastwick) and Rural Dean of Blofield

also published in the Yarmouth Mercury

On a warm October day a few years ago my wife and I were passing the Forum in Norwich, when a small crowd and film crew caught our attention. Coming closer we realised that ‘The Hairy Bikers Christmas Special’ was being filmed. Their cooker, garnished with braces of pheasants and Santa hats, seemed out of keeping with the late autumn sunlight. However, by the time we watched Si and Dave cooking those partridges and pears on their Christmas show, it seemed completely in tune with the season. Christmas TV programmes, like Christmas cakes, is best prepared early
dove leftCertainly churches everywhere have been preparing for Christmas for months. Recently we entered Advent, a season of watching and waiting, getting ready to celebrate Jesus’ birth once again. But our weeks of preparation are just the blink of an eye compared with all that God did to prepare the world for his Son’s coming over thousands of years
Every Sunday in church we have counted down to Christmas by lighting candles on our Advent wreath. The first candle represents Jesus’ ancestors, called by God to follow him to new lands and challenges. In the second week we remembered the prophets, who spoke God’s messages and foretold Jesus’ coming as the Messiah. The third candle stands for John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin who proclaimed his coming and the fourth is for Mary, who obeyed God and became Jesus’ mother. On Christmas day, we will light the white candle in the centre to show that the he has arrived
Dove rightSome of us may remember Valerie Singleton on ‘Blue Peter’ showing us how to make an Advent crown. I don’t think we would let children loose on bent wire hangers, tinsel and lighted candles these days!
However, Jesus was born into a world without any risk assessment. In order to be fully human, he took on the whole of life, with all its dangers, pleasures, and uncertainties. He came to show us the way to God, to die and rise again, to be with us forever. I think he must love us very much to have done this      
At Christmas we celebrate this good news, just as the angels did over Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. May you will find space and time to think about what it means for you. I also hope that you may find your way to join with others in sharing light, carols and the wonder of Jesus coming to live among us, the God who is with us still

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