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Dear Friends.Kevin Bryant

And so, Christmas has come and gone and we move into a new Calendar Year. Many families will be recovering from the financial burden that they have taken on over the Christmas period. In 2022 the average cost per person in the UK was approximately £642 - £300 on presents, £100 on food and drink, £100 on social events, £50 on new clothes, £50 on travel and £42 on hotel stays (sourced from YouGov). More than 50% of the population agree that Christmas is becoming unaffordable. This is a madness, with about 6.5 million people who will struggle to heat their homes sufficiently this festive season, while 2.7 million will have to choose between buying food or presents (sourced by the Guardian). How did it come to this? The birth of a child in humble circumstances some 2000 years ago has become a consumer fest putting huge financial burdens on families being particularly felt in the new year.

G K Chesterton said that “When men stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing; they believe in anything.”

And this is what we see in our society where in an absence of faith, the void is filled with consumerism and unrealistic expectations. A general desire to live “the dream” when in fact what families search for is unlikely to bring about happiness.

Throughout 2024 we must continue to reach out into our community in whatever way we can, school work, church n chips, foodbank and community events to try to show that there is another way. That contentment and joy are not purchased in the cathedral of the shopping mall but in the teaching of Jesus Christ. Two simple commandments:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12. 30 – 31

Each and every one of us is charged as a disciple of Christ to reach out to our neighbour in whatever way we are comfortable with to shine like a light in the darkness of an avaricious society in which many of our neighbours are left to struggle.

© Kevin Bryant, Reader.