Pastor Barry Robinson

Letters to the Camberwell Congregation from Pastor Barry Robinson

November 2009 - Advent, Christmas and Epiphany

November 2009
“Advent, Christmas and Epiphany”


Download a PDF version of this letter.

November 2009

Dear Church Family,

When I look around the world there seems to be so much bad news.

On the streets of London we hear about knife crime and a gang and gun culture. It certainly comes to something when a Home Secretary says it isnít safe to walk the streets on your own, and when the local MP accompanied the police on a tour of the area where our congregation meets, wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Then thereís the economic crisis:

  • Banks going bust;
  • People finding it hard to get credit;
  • Many losing their jobs with the fear of losing their homes as well.

The reputation of our political system has suffered enormously with the Ďexpenses scandalí that has engulfed so many MPs. Many believe that at the height of the crisis the House of Commons lost its moral authority to govern.

Internationally things are no better. Over the past few years we have had the turmoil in Zimbabwe, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as tensions building in Iran and North Korea. The threat of global terrorism still looms large.

Add to all this global warming and the serious issue of a growing lack of clean water and it all seems so dire.

There is so much bad news around that the world is crying out for some good news.

The trouble is though, when hear of some good news it doesnít seem to last very long.

Take, for example, the day when it was announced that London would host the 2012 Olympics. There was great rejoicing in Trafalgar Square and in the media Ė Only to be followed a day later by the terrible terrorist attacks on the London tube and buses.

Or take Viv Nicholson Ė She gained notoriety by winning £152,319 on the football pools in 1961. (A lot of money today but worth even more back then). When she got the good news of her win she declared that she was going to "spend, spend, spend".

But it didnít bring her lasting happiness.

The story of her subsequent divorces, remarriages, extravagance and eventual bankruptcy was eventually made into a musical named after the famous quote: "Spend, spend, spend".


  • With all the bad news there is around; and
  • When we here of good news it doesnít seem to last for very long;
  • What the world really needs is some good news that is going to last.

Thatís where Christmas comes in.

Just listen to what the angel said to the shepherds in announcing the birth of Jesus:

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the LordĒ. (Luke 2:10-11)

This was good news at the first Christmas and itís good news today.

Itís good news for all people and whatís more itís good news that will last.

For the Bible tells us that,

ďÖGod so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.Ē (John 3:16)

The good news of Jesusí birth 2,000 years ago goes on forever.

You see, Jesus had to come to earth as a flesh and blood human being so that He could die for our sins enabling us to live with Him forever. And what a wonderful future that will be:

ĎThen I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4)

And that glorious future is all possible because of that good news the angels announced in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago: ďa Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.Ē

It is such good news Ė Please donít miss it.

Donít make the same mistake as Thelma Howard, an American maid, who missed out on a fortune because she didnít look closely enough at her Christmas present.

Her employer was Walt Disney, who gave her a piece of paper in an envelope every Christmas Eve.

Thelma didnít understand what it was so she simply added the envelopes to a pile under her bed.

After her death her relatives discovered the documents and realised that they were shares in the Disney Corporation, worth 30 million dollars.

Godís gift to us of His Son, Jesus Christ, is far more valuable than any sum of money.

Itís a gift far too good to miss.

With love in Jesusí name,

Barry Robinson

Back to top