Dear Family of St John’s

Books have played an important part in my life. My childhood reading has possibly influenced me more than much of my adult reading, in fact. Books like the Narnia series by CS Lewis. My Standard 2 teacher (Grade 4 nowadays) read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to us. I remember sitting on the mat in her classroom at the end of the day to listen to her read. After that, I had to read the rest of the series. And, I re-read the series every year.

Other books that I’ve loved included Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree collection with Moon-Face, the Saucepan Man, the Angry Pixie, and the red squirrel who works hard for Moon-Face collecting cushions at the bottom of the Slippery-slip. I can still remember some of the lands that the children visited at the top of the tree.

But, one of my all-time favourites must be the stories involving the Hundred Acre Wood, written by AA Milne. I love Winnie-the-Pooh and can identify with a few aspects of his character… his love of food and dislike of exercise! Maybe even his physique!

Then there’s Piglet, Pooh’s faithful companion, who isn’t always brave but actually quite wise. And don’t forget about Tigger… t-i-double-guh-er! Tigger, whose tops are made out of rubber, and bottoms are made out of springs. Some days when I feel I have a lot of energy, my inner tigger comes out. If only tigger’s energy levels would stick around a little longer!

And, I can identify with Rabbit when I have to try and explain my family tree to anyone – Rabbit is known for having many friends and relations.

Owl is incredibly wise and well-educated, or likes to think he is. He pontificates and gives advice. Kanga tries to keep Roo under control and make sure he gets his strengthening medicine, extract of malt, when Tigger isn’t trying to eat it of course. There are the odd heffalumps and woozles to consider and, of course, Christopher Robin who enjoys playing Poohsticks with Pooh.

All these well-known and beloved characters have formed an integral part of countless childhood memories. Many of these good childhood stories have wonderful values at the heart of them. They help us teach our children through the adventures of characters they love.

One of the lessons that I learned from the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood relates to Eeyore. Had you noticed that I haven’t mentioned him yet? Eeyore who always loses his tail, lives in a house of sticks that keeps falling down, and only eats thistles. Eeyore isn’t the happiest character in the Wood. Some might think he’s grumpy, a party-pooper. But, Eeyore brings balance and an element of real emotion to the characters of the Wood.

We are not always in a happy ‘tigger-like’ mood. We are not always full of joy. Life is difficult, horrible things happen. We keep losing our tail, our house of sticks continually falls down and our food is thistles! We don’t necessarily feel like parties and all the ‘fun-fun-fun’ that might be expected.

Eeyore shows us this side of life. We shouldn’t try to ignore it. We should also notice that his friends don’t isolate or reject him, we should notice that he still sits at the party table and is included in the daily activities of the Wood. His friends accept where he is and love him.

Our Lord doesn’t need us to be bouncy tiggers always overflowing with joy. He knows our pain, he knows the burdens we carry. He asks that we come and rest in Him where we will be restored. Matthew 11:28 reminds us, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’

We are in a season, which some call the ‘festive season’. Festive means cheerful, jolly, happy, celebratory. But, maybe we aren’t feeling that way. Maybe the jingle bells and tinsel are just a bit too much for you at the moment. That’s okay.

Our Lord’s coming isn’t about tinsel and bells and loud parties. It’s about peace and reconciliation, it’s about home-coming and rest in the One who made us. We can be quiet in this season, and just be. Just be with God, allow Him to sit with you, rest in Him.

If you are feeling a little like Eeyore at the moment, or just need a moment of quiet, I encourage you to join us at our Blue Christmas service this Sunday, 11th December at 6pm. We will be resting in God.

With love
Your friend and rector,