|Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord|
hand-printed linocut by Teresa Newham
May it be done to me according to your word.”
The subject of this year's Christmas card is the Annunciation - a feast which we celebrate on 25th March, fully nine months before Christmas, but which is central to the story of the Nativity. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary, a young girl aged fourteen or so and tells her that she is blessed and is to give birth to the Son of God. Mary wonders how that might happen, because she is a virgin. The angel explains that she will conceive by the Holy Spirit.
At this point, Mary might have said no, or simply run away. But she doesn't - she agrees to do what God is asking of her, and by her faith and courage she allows salvation to enter the world.
On this, the shortest day of the year, I pray that we may all be granted the faith and courage to move forward, to celebrate Christmas as best we can in the circumstances we find ourselves. Wherever we are, whatever our faith, may we be blessed with peace, hope and love.