What an amazing year this has been for us. 2014 will go down in the Cross household as a defining year, and it is a year that has possibly been best summed up in the word generosity. Generosity from those around us, and generosity from a loving God. This year I have felt only good wishes from those who have discovered that I was moving into ministry and stopping my IT work. I made some good friends at my last contract with Virgin Atlantic, and felt nothing but good wishes from them all during my time there, and as I departed on the new adventure. Friends from our old Church sent us off with generosity and love. We are blessed enough to only be twenty minutes away, so many are still in touch. Generosity from family as we turned a number of homes upside down to accommodate what we hope was the best result in the end. Close friends travelling to celebrate with us in June, as I was ordained. The generosity of an agnostic (my category not his) friend attending three formal services in two days to celebrate with me will forever be etched on my mind. Generosity from the new body of people that we walk with. The people of St. Mary Magdalen, in Sheet could not have been more welcoming and generous. Since arriving we have made some great friends and have felt the love of the people around us. Also a very generous new set of work colleagues to learn from; who seem to be willing to forgive the newbie a great deal. Yes a year full of generosity.
Let us be real, there have been some concerns and issues along the way. Moving is always hard work, not least in the middle of GCEs and A levels. Illness within the wider family, which whilst we are now less concerned about, we still don’t have all the answers to. Family adapting to new surroundings and boundaries, a curate doesn’t earn the same as an IT consultant. Most recently the loss of a friend, and the future years of friendship we eagerly anticipated. Yes there have also been a whole host of things that could put the dampers on life. However that is no different to the stuff you no doubt may have also gone through this year. Life can never be summed up, as wholly good or wholly bad, life is just a little messy that way.
I spoke the other night at our carol service, on how Jesus came into a messy world, full of conflict. Into a messy family, full of scandal. Into a messy barn full of…… Well you know what barns are full of. The point being God chose to step down into our mess and pull us up, rather then wait for us to try and climb to Him. It’s about a God that knows our mess and still brings hope. In my book that is a generous God, and that makes tomorrow worth celebrating. Happy Christmas from me and mine to you and yours.
Loads of love, Max.
P.S The money for the Christmas card you didn’t get has gone to Kids of hope http://kidsofhope.wordpress.com this year. And I hope you enjoyed my efforts above ;-)