• Mark Cresswell

Christmas Greetings from Clare


A very Happy Christmas to all our friends in the Carlford Benefice

There isn’t a day goes by when I don’t think about you in one way or another – in my prayers, when my memory is jogged, or when I get an Email, a letter/ card and sometimes a phone call from one or another you – THANK YOU.

It has been an extraordinary year and there are times when I feel guilty that I have not been with you to share the challenges and the pain of all that has happened this year because of Covid, but I have to admit there are also times when I breathe a sigh of relief that I haven’t had the responsibilities that are involved.

We have settled very happily in Shropshire – it is beautiful- the walking – on our doorstep is great and we are certainly fitter, so are the dogs. Molly, now 15 refuses to walk from the back of the car, she knows that means a long walk, but she is happy enough to trot off with us, if we walk from the back door! The accompanying photo however, is not Shropshire, but from the top of Tom’s Cairn in the Cairngorms. It was taken by Tom, who joined us with his girlfriend Patrizia, from Poland and spent 2 weeks with us, including Iona. Tom was very keen to introduce Patrizia to Iona and she fell in love with it too. Patrizia is lovely and we are very happy about her and Tom. She is good for him and he seems to have found peace within himself again and a job he enjoys, though less teaching online and more face to face would be welcome!

This Christmas will be different for all of us, but perhaps it will be all the more special, as we are powerfully reminded of the God who is not separate from us, but One with Us- Emmanuel- sharing in all our vulnerabilities, our pain and our joys. As we prepare to celebrate that mystery – of the love that came down at Christmas – some words of CS Lewis from The Four Loves

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

Happy Christmas and much love and prayers. I miss you all and when Covid is all done and dusted, there is always a welcome in the Shropshire Hills for any of you who want to venture into the Wild West.

Clare

PS Mark and Tom join in this too and send their love

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