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A Christmas message filled with questions

Carol singing at Morpeth Rotary Club with Michael Gaunt on piano and the Morpeth Gadgie Alex Swailes in the line-up.
Carol singing at Morpeth Rotary Club with Michael Gaunt on piano and the Morpeth Gadgie Alex Swailes in the line-up.

Morpeth Rotary Club

Rotary North East of England District Governor Leonard Burns and Mayor and Mayoress of Morpeth Nic Best and Joan Howard joined 65 Rotarians, guests and friends for a meal and Christmas message, delivered by The Rev Ron Forster.

President Peter Scott reminded us that December marks 80 years since a group of men founded the first Rotary Club in Morpeth. It was granted a charter by Rotary International the following year and began in February 1938. There will be a celebration of the event at President’s Night on February 16.

After a fine, traditional, three course meal with mince pies, tea and coffee provided by The Parlour staff, the address was given.

Ron said that Christmas was full of questions.

There are basic family ones like, are we coming to your house for Christmas?

The Bible story is full of questions: Mary being given a message by the angel and asking, “how can this be?”; the wise men asking “where is this child born to be King of the Jews?”; the shepherds asking, “what is going on?”

Christmas overflows with important questions, with one larger than all. It is a question in the carol by William Dix: “What child is this who laid to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping?”

When the question was first asked in the Bible the answers were: “The child to be born will be called Holy, the Son of God.” Joseph was told that he would be Emmanuel, or God, with us. The shepherds were told: “A saviour is born who is Christ the Lord.”

And this is the heart and soul of Christmas.

This is the long awaited saviour, Christ, the one who holds Christmas together, the child who comes to make us whole.

At Christmas we face the same concerns they had then — how to find peace, how to deal with the problems of society. In the stillness of the night God answers.

He is the child who will bring the world together through love. Why do it in the way he did? Why choose the young Mary? Why a confused man, Joseph? Why angels and shepherds and travelling soothsayers?

God sent Jesus to the least likely people in the least likely places, to people who were rejected, to the nameless nobodies of the world. These are the people God loved.

Never put Jesus and Christmas tidily away under the heading of a simple holiday. Christmas always makes us wonder.

After Christmas we can offer our gifts before the Christ child. In so doing we become part of the Christmas story.

He finished with the words of the modern carol by Shirley Erena Murray: “Star Child — earth Child, go-between of God… This year, this year, let the day arrive, when Christmas comes for everyone, everyone alive.”

The address was followed by hearty carol singing.