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Farmer John’s December 2013 Blog

Farmer John’s December 2013 Blog

20 Nov 2013

At the end of January we will have been at Rushall Farm for 40 years. It has been an incredible privilege to have had responsibility for such a beautiful part of England for all that time, and within the context of a thriving local community. To celebrate and practise for our next stage in life, we went to Barcelona for a short break. I have to admit that I don’t get out of Berkshire that often, but this was my first time out of the country for 30 years. We were staying with my daughter who is there with her family for a year. We arrived as the sun was setting and my son in law rushed me straight up to the mountain ridge above their apartment. There we could see the whole city, tightly packed together, sprawling for what seemed miles down to the Mediterranean, and totally devoid of the colour green. I got used to the absence of my favourite colour over the next few days and the sight of the odd pigeon, green parrot and housefly assured me there was some biodiversity in this busy part of Spain.

We returned to the rain and wind of this year’s unusually late autumn with Christmas on the agenda. The Bishop of Reading is going to join us at our Barn Services, so we are looking forward to sharing in the fun of that happy celebration with him. The story of Jesus’ birth is so simple and beautiful and yet it is not. If you mix a teenage pregnancy, out of marriage, giving birth in a strange town away from loved ones and in a stable, it doesn’t feel that great for Mary and Joseph. It could almost be an added insult when unknown strangers in the form of shepherds arrive smelling definitely of sheep. But it wasn’t an insult. The shepherds had witnessed the most remarkable sight, a huge heavenly host praising God and singing “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests”. The angel had given them specific instructions about where they would find this fragile family and defenceless baby. Mary and Joseph must have been so encouraged and reassured by the witness of the shepherds. And the shepherds? They returned to their sheep, and not very green pastures, praising God because “It was just as the angel had said”.

Please do come and join us for ‘Christmas Eve in the Barn’ at 3.00 pm or 5.30 pm on Christmas Eve.