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Girton Parish News - December 2000
Carol Singing in the Village
Residents have shown their appreciation by offering warm hospitality (sausage rolls, mince pies, mulled wine, chocolates and on one occasion the family's whole Christmas Cake!) as well as contributing generous amounts to charity. We do want this tradition to continue, however we need new residents to join us as numbers of singers are decreasing, and those who have been singing for many years are finding they do not have the stamina to sing for three nights. Will you come and join us on one, two or three nights? This is an activity for all ages and for all who enjoy singing and/or collecting. Supper is provided afterwards!
The charity collection this year is being given to the Cambridge branch
of the Parkinson's Disease Society.
READY FOR ADVENT?
'Advent' simply means 'the coming of Christ'.
And in two ways. In this run-up to Christmas, we look forward to celebrating the birthday, or the coming of the baby Jesus in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago. That's the 'centrepiece' for all Christians about the meaning of Christmas. We decorate fir trees and sing carols and give presents to family and friends because God gave the present of his son to us (and also because the Wise Men gave gifts to the infant Jesus.)
But Advent is also significant for another reason. We look forward to the time when, as Jesus promised to his disciples after his resurrection, that he would 'come again' and take us with him.
He has not come yet, but the expectation of Jesus Second Coming goes on providing a focus for hope and action in an uncertain world, and gives us a vision of the Kingdom of God which is radically different from the kind of world we live in now.
I would like to take you, if I could, to a graphic portrayal of this hope in a great cathedral in Milan. Come in out of the glare of the Italian sunshine, pass through the cathedral doors, and suddenly see stretching out before you, Europe's third largest cathedral where fifty-two marbled columns hold up the lofty, octagonal dome, with over 4,400 turrets and pinnacles. Statues of angels rise all about us, and the effect is one of an incomparable combination of grace and grandeur, beauty and vastness.
Up front behind the altar, like a window opening out of heaven, is one of the largest stainedglass windows in the world. Depicted here is not an Old Testament scene. That stained glass window does not depict the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord, not his crucifixion or ascension. With tremendous imagery the window depicts the triumph of Jesus Christ the Lord. The afternoon sun strains in, turning the window into a sea of glass mingled with fire. You see the vials being outpoured, the trumpets, Michael and his angels in battle against the dragon, the great angel with the rainbow upon his head and one foot upon the earth and the other upon the heaven, declaring in the name of him who lives forever and ever that time shall be no longer. Bound with a chain, Satan is thrown into the bottomless pit at last. The great white throne glows in the sunlight.
Most impressive of all is the great, white horse. Upon the horse sits a still greater rider with the armies of heaven behind him. He comes to set everything straight at last for everyone of us who has hoped in him, and for everyone who has been subjected to the pain and prejudice of living for Jesus Christ.
The immense step from the Babe at Bethlehem to the living, reigning triumphant Lord Jesus, returning to earth for his own people--that is the glorious truth proclaimed at Advent. As the bells ring out the joys of Christmas, may we also be alert for the final trumpet that will announce his return, when we shall always be with him.
With every blessing to you over the Advent Season and Christmas,
A GIFT FOR EVERYONE
Although the influence of a President is tremendous, it is nothing compared to the effect of Jesus, whose birth nearly the whole world will celebrate at the end of the month. The President of the greatest superpower on earth may reside in one of the grandest houses in the world, but it is no more famous than a humble stable in Bethlehem. The capacity of the President to outwardly alter the lives of scores of people across the globe is enormous, yet it is nothing compared to the power that Jesus has to challenge and change the hearts of those who know him. The President was elected by his fellow countrymen, but Jesus was sent by God. There are many things that a President may do during his presidency, but the effect of Jesus' contribution to the world goes on for ever.
There are good reasons why the President is elected in the way he is, with each state counting its own votes and then making a single declaration for one candidate or another. It is done that way so that every candidate has to campaign in every state with no area overlooked. The founding fathers in the U.S.A. were keen to emphasise that the election of the President was something that should involve every single person. The process demonstrates the importance of every elector and that is perhaps an equally significant idea to reflect on as we approach Christmas.
Christmas is about God sending his only Son Jesus Christ into the world, to be our Saviour. But that only means something if each and every person takes it on board. I guess there are hundreds if not thousands of people in the United States who are kicking themselves this week for not having taken the trouble to vote. True that was their choice on the day, they chose to do nothing about it and now it is too late. God so loves each and every single one of us that he sent us a Saviour. Yet Jesus, the greatest gift ever sent, is worthless unless it is individually unwrapped by every person.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Girton Glebe News
We have just heard from Liz Stevenson, that following the death of her husband, she does not wish to return to her teaching post at the Glebe. She has taught here for the past 24 years and many of your children will remember her with affection. There will be a card in the office from 1st December for any of you who would like to send her a message.
We are also facing another huge change, in that next May we shall be saying goodbye to John Kennedy as he begins his well-earned retirement. John has been central to everything that goes on at the Glebe for many years and so loved by families, staff and children, that it is hard to imagine the school without him.
Under the Safer Routes to Schools initiative, the Home School Group has been looking at children's travel to school and perceived dangers and concerns. Within the initiative, we can apply for expenditure within the school grounds and in the village as a whole, to increase safety or to encourage less car use. Items considered at a recent meeting included some improved road crossings and upgraded bicycle sheds. These are now being costed, and proposals will be presented to the village at an open meeting at a later date.
Susan Baker, Headteacher