Fr Carl Davies
As the new Roman Catholic Parish Priest of Littlehampton with Rustington, I very much welcome the opportunity of saying hello to your readers and inroducing myself to them.
I was born in Brighton and, apart from a few years spent in London and Surrey, I have spent my life in this County. On leaving school I became a Civil Servant for a few years and then went to college to study for ordination in the Church of England. I was in due course ordained Deacon in Chichester Cathedral and priest in Horsham.
In 1993, at the age of forty, I was received into Full Communion with the Roman Catholic Church and the following year returned to full-time studies for ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood. Since then my duties have taken me to Horsham, Brighton and Hove and Billingshurst and now to Littlehampton and Rustington. I have always been happy in my work and have counted it a most wonderful privilege to be a priest I have always received far more than I have ever given. I am therefore fully confident that I shall be happy in Littlehampton where I have already found the people warm, friendly and courteous.
I wish every blessing to all who read the Gazette, and if any of you should come across me in the town, please do not hesitate to stop me to say hello.
Fr Carl Davies
When I was giving some thought to what I might put in this article, I remembered something that occurred when I was at college studying for ordination to the priesthood. A fellow student, a friend of mine, was set an exercise. He was to imagine that he was to be interviewed on local radio and in a very few words had to explain what we as Christians believe about Christmas. This was not easy because – as I am sure any priest will tell you – it is far harder to write a short sermon than a long one. It is difficult to feel you can do full justice to your subject in only a few words. So, stuck for ideas, my friend came to me for help. I said to him: why not put it like this – “Christians believe that, at Christmas, God came to live with us so that we can go to live with Him". I should like to be able to tell you that this was an original thought of my own, but it was something I remembered my old Parish Priest having said years before. I had never forgotten it because I think that, even then, I was able to appreciate that it is a succinct and beautiful way of explaining what Christians believe happened at Christmas.
This then is our Christian belief and what we celebrate at Christmas – that God in Jesus Christ became a member of our human race so that, in time, we could go and live with Him forever in Heaven. Put another way: God, the one by whom all things were made, became a creature Himself and was even ready to die so that we might live forever. This is truly extraordinary and wonderful and something that surely no human being could ever have dreamed up. It says something to us about the depth of God's love for us, but in truth our human language fails in any attempt to fully explain it. St Paul, when he was writing to some of the first Christians, put it this way: "The foolishness of God is wiser than men".
It is the birth of Jesus Christ that Christmas celebrates. Whatever else we do at Christmas – give presents, have plenty to eat, celebrate with family and friends – all this is because God in Jesus Christ became one of us Those of us who are Christians, who have been baptised or "christened" as we sometimes call it, ought never to allow these other things to eclipse the fundamental and authentic cause of our celebrations.
If Christmas is for you no longer a time full of family and friends, think about the true meaning of Christmas and what it is really celebrating, and take some comfort from this.
I wish you a very happy and blessed Christmas.
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