March 2023

On Saturday 25 March, there are only 274 shopping days left until Christmas! This timely reminder comes not to send you to the shops, but to remember that there are nine months until Christmas comes round again. Nine months – for this day is the Feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, when Mary was told by the Archangel Gabriel that she was to bear a son, and that she will name him Jesus.

This day and indeed this month of March reminds us of God’s preparations behind the scenes for our salvation. Each year we celebrate the fact of the Incarnation, of God being born among us, the Word made flesh, Emmanuel. Having an incarnational understanding as Christians means we understand God to be involved in our lives through the Holy Spirit, not just in March or at Christmas, but every day. Indeed, God is preparing the deepening of his engagement with the human condition everyday as we further the work of his Kingdom here and now.

To live the next nine months knowing within ourselves that God is preparing us for his mission now and in the future is a helpful way of life, for it means the God is already at work, whether we choose him or not and whether the society he came to redeem knows him fully or not.

Mary’s response to this amazing news was ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. ’In what ways in this next nine months, can we say YES to the incarnate Lord? How might you be being called? As the Spirit moves within us, who do we need to say yes to, when before, our answer to someone else, often different from ourselves, is always no? How many days are left, before we all say YES to God?

Bishop Stephen

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