The Vicarage, BLACKMORE, Essex.
We begin to find that the writing of an annual Christmas letter is not the easiest thing to do. Looking at the four previous efforts which have been sent out from Blackmore it is a little difficult to maintain originality. There remains pre-eminently our desire to send you greetings, to tell of our well-being and to send a thought from out of the Holy Scriptures.
In our Parish things continue in the pattern established and as indicated in earlier letters. We have introduced a parish magazine entitled "Friends". It appears quarterly and seems to be meeting a need. At least it affords the Vicar a means of speaking regularly to all his people. Another venture is the monthly Family Service, aimed at reaching young parents with young children. Numbers have grown steadily throughout the year and it is encouraging to feel that for the most part the service is attracting those who do not attend church at any other time.
Repairs to the church fabric continue. We have raised about £5,000 and spent £4,500. We shall need as much again before the church is as it should be. Such an interesting and ancient building, with all its hallowed and historical associations, deserves our care.
Although a year has passed we feel not a day older. A loving heavenly Father has crowded our lives with blessing and given us a sense of reward as we have pressed on in Christian service.
Among other good things, the year has given us the New English Bible. The following is the rendering of Hebrews 9. 26 & 28: "Christ has appeared once and for all at the climax of history to abolish sin by the sacrifice of himself … and will appear a second time … to bring salvation to those who are watching for him".
We will commemorate at Christmas the first appearing of our Saviour, when God showed in the person of his Son, not only the perfection of humanity, but his will to redeem men, by the sacrifice of his Son, from a world corrupted through sin and condemned on that account.
Our recalling of his first appearing ought, also, to bring to mind his second appearing. This is the promise of God. Christ will appear a second time to those who are watching and he will complete in them the salvation which has already begun in their believing and expectant hearts. It is our hope and prayer that all who read this letter will be found in such company.
There remains the third reason for this letter - that we might send you greetings. We are so conscious of the wealth of friendship with which we have been favoured that we find it one of our chief joys to remember in a special way, at this season, all who are dear to us by ties of nature and friendship. We send our affectionate good wishes and pray that you may have a holy, happy Christmas followed by a New Year filled with the loving provision of our Heavenly Father.
HILDA and MONTAGUE H. KNOTT.