Advent is the time of preparation. Every year we look forward to Christmas, because of the life and hope that it promises. This year it seems more important than ever. The coming of Jesus is to be seen, not just as a past event 2000+ years ago, but as Past, Present and Future, and in particular as a present reality. The message of Advent is urgent, because it is relevant to the world of today. We cannot just take it or leave it‼ We thank God, Jesus is the hope for this world. We need to remind ourselves to keep Jesus Christ central in all things. The wonderful thing is to all who receive Jesus, to those who believe in His name, He gives the right to become children of God. ‘God with Us’
Prayer: God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory. We ask this through Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God, forever and ever. Amen.
‘At this time of Giving’ let us reflect on some words from that Song. ‘Earth could not contain the treasurers heaven holds for you, Perfect Joy and lasting pleasures, Love so strong and true. May His tender love surround you at this Christmas time; May you see His smiling face that in the darkness shines.’
CHURCH – As I type this newsletter things are looking more hopeful with the wonderful news of a Vaccine in the New Year. At Christmas we are hoping for it to be a little easier, but of course it can all change very quickly‼ We are planning that a few of us might be able to sing some carols outside the front of the church on the 20th December. This will be on the Sunday afternoon before Christmas. We will try to let you know if this is going to happen, nearer the time.
DECORATE CHURCH TREES OUTSIDE FOR CHRISTMAS This year because we couldn’t have the Festival of Christmas trees, Sandra from Coffee Morning has suggested to me that we decorate the trees outside the church in the garden, I thought this was a fantastic idea. People and children have responded to her request which is wonderful. If anyone has any large baubles they no longer want or some battery lights to help this would be great. I also did wonder if anyone wanted to make a decoration that could be hung on the tree. Maybe Knitted, or using natural materials, pine cones, holly etc.. How about making a Christmas tag with a name of someone we wish to remember or who is no longer with us. Rather like they do with the ‘Light up a Life’ service. You will have to cover it maybe with some cling film to make it waterproof. Just an idea! Please feel free to just hang something from the trees or you can contact me and I can collect your decoration and hang it for you. How wonderful to be able to share the message of HOPE that Christmas brings. Thank you. Telephone Sharon 583913
COFFEE MORNINGS We remain unable to meet. Keep in touch with one another if you can. We may be able to start something a bit later in the New Year!
OUTREACH Malcolm and Pauline continue to be a great source of support and encouragement to those who are unable to get out and about. We do thank them for all their efforts it is very hard to come up with something different each time and talking to a screen/microphone with no feedback is even harder!. Well done Malcolm. O how we miss the face to face contact of being together for fellowship, praise and worship Thanks Malcolm and Pauline, much appreciated.
St. Francis Church. Remains open on a Sunday morning for private prayers and will be holding Morning Prayer services again after this current lockdown ceases. Rev. Paul continues with his on-line service every Sunday.
NEWS DURING THESE EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
I am very pleased to report that the online service for Remembrance Day went off very well and Dan Sutton and Charles deLacy did a fantastic job, from their homes. Technology is amazing! The service was watched by a very good number. Jo and myself went to the village hall to represent the church and with great help from Andrew Bugg we were able to receive the wreaths that were brought to the war memorial. Andrew was extremely helpful and we are very grateful to him for allowing the wreaths to be placed at the War Memorial. Special Thanks to all who helped decorate the church hedge and trees for Remembrance; especially Sandra who organised this with some help from the WI and ‘Knit and Natter’ and Allan who put the Remembrance banner up. It felt good to see something positive happening at the church.
CHRISTINGLE This Sunday 1st in Advent. We would normally be celebrating with the church Christingle Service. It is always such a special time for children and families and has brought many people to the church who have not previously been before. Of course like everything else it is very different this year. I thought maybe you would like to make your own Christingle at home and think about what it represents.
You will need the following
An Orange Represents our World
Red Ribbon/Tape God’s love for the World – Jesus’ bloodshed for us
Candle Jesus Light of the World – Shows us what God is like
4 Cocktail Sticks 4 Corners of the World – 4 Seasons of the year
Sweets The good gifts God gives us
Keep me shining, Lord, keep me shining, Lord in all I say and do. That the world may see Christ lives in me, and learns to love him too.
Lord God, may we Your people who look forward to the coming of Christ, experience the joy of salvation and celebrate His coming with love and thanksgiving. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
Father please guide us as we lead up to Christmas. Help us to reach out to those in need, the sick, the lonely and the unsure. Help us to celebrate the anniversary of Your Son’s birth and to keep reaching out afterwards into the New Year. Amen
Lord we give You thanks that we have the promise of a Vaccine for Covid 19 as this year draws to an end. We give You thanks that You have enabled this through the skills of scientists and physicians who have been working throughout the world to try and control this virus. We just pray that You will guide those whose job it will be to roll it out to the people all over the country and world. Amen
Lord, we so appreciate those who serve around the clock to protect and look after us. We think of the Police, Ambulance, Doctors, Nurses, Carers, Armed Forces, Breakdown services, whatever it maybe, they respond to emergencies and care for the vulnerable. We are especially thankful at this time of year and season. May they look to You for strength in times of need. Amen.