It has been some weeks since I wrote here. It’s been a crazy time of packing up the vicarage and moving house, whilst preparing to leave the church where I’ve been serving as Vicar for just under 11 years. It has been such a task, but it felt right to try to be in our new home for Christmas and to begin the New Year. Added to all this activity has been a severe decline in dad’s health – on the day we moved he was admitted to hospital and we were given a warning to ‘prepare’ ourselves. Our lovely son then reached a crisis point on the same day and has once again returned home for the much needed loving care and concern of his family.
My head and my heart are full as I write: my head full of busyness, worries and concerns, my heart is filled with blessings.
Moving house, as anyone who has done it knows, is an extremely stressful experience, especially when it involves massive downsizing. But we have been massively blessed by the support of amazing friends who have gone the extra mile to get us in and as settled as possible so that I can focus upon what is needed at church for the next couple of weeks. They have truly been a blessing.
Dad spent a week on IV drips but is still with us and has been transferred back to the nursing home. Next week will be the anniversary of my mum’s death in 2008. We are still ‘preparing’ ourselves. I have placed dad into God’s healing hands, whatever that healing might be.
Sadly, Peter is not in such a good place, but we are counting our blessings that he is here with us where we can support him as he trues to process the demons in his head and heal once more before he has to return to Devon.
Then came yesterday evening: one of my hardest ‘lasts’ at church – our Candlelit Carol Service. It was emotional because we weren’t able to have the service last year and such a blessing to lead the nine lessons and carols. The music ensemble excelled themselves and far more people attended than I ever expected or thought possible in the current circumstances.
Now I am preparing for my final service next Sunday and my final Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It won’t be easy, but I know overall this is the right thing for me to do. I also know that as always, I won’t be alone because I am blessed with family and friends who will be right there alongside, and of course, there will be the hand that never ever lets go, however difficult things might seem.
As we approach Christmas, everyone has the additional worry of the unknown possibilities of the virus, but we each also have so many blessings to thank God for. When things seem difficult, and they will in the days and weeks ahead, I encourage you to count those blessings and whenever things feel overwhelming hold tight onto that hand that never lets go…
Happy Christmas and God Bless