A message from the Rev’d Amanda Collinson

Posted by Admin on 22 November 2021, 4:15 pm

Amanda Collinson


St John the Baptist Church


Tel: 01983 294913

Email: amandacollinson01@gmail.com



So, we once again find ourselves in the month of December! I don’t know about you, but I think this year has gone by so quickly … it seems only like a few weeks ago when we were all enjoying the summer! And yet as I write this letter in Mid-November, I have already started seeing Christmas lights appear in windows and front gardens and I was told by a young girl in church a week ago that they had put up their Christmas tree the day before.

Traditionally in our family, we do not put up our Christmas tree until my Mum has had her birthday, which is 3rd December, as she never wanted it to be mixed up with Christmas – I get that and my heart always goes out to anyone whose birthday is in December, especially late December! We have some other amusing traditions around Christmas – Chinese on Christmas Eve (no idea why, been that for decades, but now very grateful as that day is manic for me!), only stocking presents before breakfast (downside of having a priest in the household who needs to go to work!), new clothes to wear on Christmas Day, Christmas cake is not cut until Boxing day (probably because we are always too full from Christmas Day lunch to contemplate eating anything else!!!), panto on 27th December (when I officially start my Christmas holidays!).  That is just a few of them – what are your family traditions, and have you continued them when you left home and got a family of your own?

HOWEVER, and this is a BIG HOWEVER, last year things changed … with COVID restrictions in full swing November and ultimately over Christmas, a good number of our traditions were broken: Our tree, and notably my Mum’s tree as well, were up early November, we opened some non-stocking presents before church, we had the TV on before the Queen’s speech – admittedly it was just to connect to my folks via zoom so we could still have our Christmas lunch together but still, there was no panto … and the Christmas cake??  Well, we had it when my family came over for the first time on Easter Day!

Was our Christmas ruined? Did the heavens fall because we didn’t follow our traditions?  No of course not. And as a result, I, and perhaps some of you too, will be looking at what we traditionally used to do and thinking ‘Do we still want to do this tradition, or shall we make a new one?’

You may recall me telling you earlier in the year about how us Collinsons do not reserve pancakes just for Shrove Tuesday but continue to have them every first Saturday of the month. It’s still great, we have not got bored of pancakes (like I ever thought that would happen!) and yet we still celebrated the beginning of Lent as everyone else does. Well, I am thinking I may do the same for my Christmas breakfast which is smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toasted bagels!  Very decadent I know, but so yummy and if nothing else this whole pandemic time has taught us not to leave things for later but do them now.  It has also reminded us to treat ourselves every now and then, to be kind to ourselves as well as one another, and most importantly not to get ‘stuck in ruts’ that are not positive, helpful or useful in our lives. Don’t keep on doing things that are not bringing joy into your lives or homes.  Stop them and find something else which is joyous to do!

I am not going to worry too much about presents (ok I will still get stressed about getting the right thing for our boys, but that’s it!), I am going to focus more on cards, visiting people, inviting others to our home.  People are so much more important than possessions: that is the lesson we all have learnt this past year or so.

So, what are you going to do this Christmas to give you joy? Or for those of you grieving or struggling with health or experiencing ongoing treatment, what can you do to give yourself some comfort and peace. Hopefully with the return of all our Christmas services this year, we are able to provide you with a focussed service to help you with this – whether it is the fun and crazy Crib services or our reflective and often emotional Thanksgiving services for people who have lost loved ones or Candle-lit carol services.  

What I do say is don’t be on your own, don’t be alone.  Come to one of our Community Coffee and Chat mornings, the concerts happening in Gurnard church this month, pop into a café with a friend you haven’t seen for a while, sit on the bus and go to the end of the line talking to as many different people as possible, play bingo in the Community Centre … the list is endless. You do not have to be alone this Christmas. But all of this requires a bit of effort from your side. As Barack Obama once said ‘Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.’  That’s worth the effort surely?

Wishing you a blessed, peaceful and joyous Christmas and a new year full of hope.

Rev’d Amanda

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