I want to (prematurely!) wish you a Happy Christmas. (I know we are still in Advent, but I’m sure you will forgive me…?!)
We are still in very uncertain times, so I pray that you and your loved ones are safe and well.
I hope you enjoyed the latest edition of Contact magazine which has kept you up to date with our Advent & Christmas services, and our Alpha course starting in January.
If for some strange reason your copy hasn’t arrived yet, you can check it out here.
On Sunday 12th December we enjoyed a fantastic family Muddy Church ADVENTure. It was so lovely to be able to gather together safely outdoors, follow the Nativity trail, enjoy refreshments and sing carols. You can read about it on our website.
Last night (19th) we enjoyed gathering together in a beautifully decorated church for a ‘Service of Lessons & Carols’. Last year we had to simply listen to this service, as singing was not permitted – so it was such a joy to sing favourite carols again (albeit masked…)
Thank you to our very dedicated quartet ladies choir led by Audrey Gillian, who treated us to some beautiful arrangements of familiar and new pieces. Thank you to all of the readers for taking part, and to the team who provided the festive refreshments.
For those of you who were unable to make it along, you can ‘catch up’ on Boxing Day when the service will be posted on Facebook and on our website.
In light of our current situation, I mentioned at that service that we are told throughout scripture ‘Fear not – do not be afraid’. Those words appear throughout the Christmas story as they are spoken to Zechariah, to Mary, to Joseph, and then finally to the shepherds.
I shared that a recent email had spoken to me, and that sometimes we need those reminders to ‘pop into our inbox’. The writer puts what I’d like to say so eloquently that there is no point me rewriting. From the email –
“I don’t know what circumstances you have each faced this year.
I don’t know how many bills are stacked high, how many days you’ve been without work, or how guilty you feel over the choices that haunt you. I don’t know if you fear for the safety or health of your loved ones or even yourself. I don’t know if you can’t seem to find your place in a new town or church.
But I know this: We have absolutely nothing to fear. In the words of the angel, the birth of Jesus is good news, but not just any good news.
It’s good news that brings great joy to ALL people. Not because we all have perfect circumstances in life, but because we all have a perfect, holy Saviour.
Today, let’s set aside the things that put hopelessness in our hearts. Bury them, stomp them in the ground. Do whatever we need to do, then cling to Jesus with everything we have. He’s the reason we are celebrating this season, and He very specifically has called you (and me) to FEAR NOT even in the face of crazy, scary, and unthinkable circumstances!”
The word Emmanuel means “God is with us”.
So do not be afraid, even if things are difficult; because the Lord is with you.
Stay close to him, always.
We hope to see you at our Christmas Services.
25th December @ 10.30am – A Christmas Day Celebration with Holy Communion (in Church)
26th December @ 10.30am – St Stephen’s Day Morning Worship (in Parish Hall)
Have a lovely, peaceful, and truly blessed Christmas. Stay safe.
With love and prayers,