Ministers Letter – December 2007

Rev. Ray Coates
My Dear Friends,

Recently I’ve heard of a new variation on a letter to Father Christmas. Some people are putting their wish list on the internet, presumably in the hope that friends will see the kind of things they want and buy them for them. It’s certainly a safer way of ensuring that folk receive presents they really want than asking dad if he has any idea what mum would like or needs!

I found myself wondering what my list would look like if I put on the internet what I would really like as a Christian Minister. When I reflect that the baby born at Bethlehem is the Prince of Peace of Isaiah’s prophecy and that in his adult life he worked tirelessly to try to make the world and the lives of individuals to be more like the way God longed for them to be, I found my Christmas list and my prayers for the New Year of 2008 beginning to take shape.

I thought of the conflicts and troubled areas of the world and the anxiety and sometimes loss experienced by families whose loved ones are serving in such regions at great risk to themselves – if only other means could be found to resolve such problems.

I remembered the troubles in places like Burma and Zimbabwe – what can be done to resolve them?

The cyclone that hit Bangladesh so badly and other natural disasters came to mind

I found myself thinking of individuals that I know who have been through tough times in recent months and years – if they could continue to find the strength and support they need, I’d ask no more.

If people waiting anxiously could find their hopes and dreams realised, I would be happy.

I thought of 2007’s celebration of the 200th anniversary of the passing of an Act of Parliament to abolish the slave trade, and then with sadness of how slavery still exists with women and children being trafficked. Their hopes for a better life so often prove to be just an illusion as instead many are tricked and sold into sex slavery and abused cruelly.

I reflected on how we live in an age of change and it is happening in many spheres at an increasingly rapid pace. I wish that those living through the turmoil could find something of God’s real peace.

I could easily go on and fill the whole of this edition of Calendar with my wish list, but I’ll stop for now and finish with two questions for you. What would be on your wish list? It would be fascinating to see some of those wishes appearing on the internet! And what can you and I do help the Prince of Peace in his work to improve things with these and other issues?

With my best wishes for Christmas and for 2008,

With love,

Your Minister and friend,