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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

postheadericon The Advent Wreath

The Advent Wreath

There are several traditions about the meaning or theme of each candle.The scheme that accords best with the Common Worship Principal Service Lectionary is: Advent 1 – The Patriarchs Advent 2 – The Prophets Advent 3 – John the Baptist Advent 4 – The Virgin Mary Christmas Day – The Christ

Each of the four Sundays then reminds us of those who prepared for the coming of Christ. ‘The Patriarchs’ can naturally focus on Abraham, our father in faith, and David, the ancestor in whose city Jesus was born. ‘The Prophets’ gives an opportunity to reflect on the way the birth of the Messiah was foretold. John, who proclaimed the Saviour, and Mary, who bore him in her womb, complete the picture.

Blessed are you, sovereign Lord, God of our ancestors: to you be praise and glory forever. You called the patriarchs to live by the light of faith and to journey in the hope of your promised fulfilment. May we be obedient to your call and be ready and watchful to receive your Christ, a lamp to our feet and a light to our path; for you ore our light and our salvation.

Blessed be God forever.

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postheadericon O come let us adore him!

In his name the nations will put their hope’

(Matthew 12: 21)

The year is 2021; it is a grim world in which a quarter of a century has passed since Omega, the year the world discovered that women were no longer becoming pregnant. Subsequently, the world’s elderly have died, the middle-aged have become elderly, and the young have matured into adults – but not a single child has been born.  Scientists have struggled fruitlessly to understand the phenomenon and to develop new ways to extend and improve life. Such is the premise of The Children of Men by P. D. James.

In the novel, it is made clear that hope depends on future generations. James writes, “It was reasonable to struggle, to suffer, perhaps even to die, for a more just, a more compassionate society, but not in a world with no future where, all too soon, the very words ‘justice,’ ‘compassion,’ ‘society,’ ‘struggle,’ ‘evil,’ would be unheard echoes on an empty air.”

The story centers on the plight of Kee, a young woman who against all odds falls pregnant. Various parties would want to control Kee and her baby for their political ends and so she entrusts herself and her child to Theo, a history professor, who endeavours to take them to a place of refuge. Soon after the birth of Kee’s child the trio are caught up in a battle between insurgents and soldiers. The baby gives out a cry and the fighting stops as the belligerents gaze in wonder at the newborn child. Kee’s baby has brought hope for a future, a meaning to life and peace.

The Christmas symbolism is clear. Jesus Christ was born into a world that was expectant and hopeful that God would do something great. His promise of a Messiah who would deliver Israel from oppression and bring salvation to the world gripped the imaginations of those who believed God’s promises. Christ’s birth was therefore welcomed by the faithful as evidence that God had not given up on humankind, that despite it’s sin the world could hope for the best of futures where the very words ‘justice,’ ‘compassion,’ ‘forgiveness’, ‘mercy’, ‘grace’, ‘holiness’, ‘glory’ would be recited as Christ’s Kingdom was built. Simeon who gazed on the Christ Child expressed the delight and wonder of a waiting world. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”(Luke 2: 30-31)

We too should gaze with delight and wonder on the Christ Child but if Christmas is to mean anything at all it must be regarded as much more than the birth of a baby boy. It commemorates the incarnation of God, His becoming a human being, one of us. In his Son, Jesus Christ, God left the glory of heaven for the squalor of a borrowed stable and an earthly existence that would acquaint him with sorrow and grief. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only [Son], who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).

As a child in the care of Joseph and his mother Mary, Jesus found refuge in Egypt. However at the end of his life Jesus forsook all refuge and willingly surrendered his life to death on the cross and thereby lovingly paid the penalty for the world’s sin. His resurrection broke the power of sin and death and won the eternal refuge of heaven for everyone. Christmas has brought among us the one who claims to fulfill the messianic prophecy, ‘In his name the nations will put their hope’ (Matthew 12: 21). Our world is no longer the grim place it once was. Christ has brought us hope for a future, a meaning to life and peace.

O come let us adore him.

Happy Christmas!

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Regular services

8.15: Holy Communion
10:30: Family Worship, communion twice a month
6:00: Evening Service, communion twice a month

10.00: Holy Communion