Over Christmas we celebrated together in many different ways: Christmas Eve worship for families of all shapes and sizes, Community Carols, Midnight Communion, and more.
On the fourth Sunday of Advent Lola and Busayo acted out Mary and Elizabeth’s story as we were immersed in the drama of Christmas. It all began with Angel Gabriel, played by Revd Dom, appearing to Mary and passing on God’s message that she would birth His son. In her anxiety and uncertainty she turned to her cousin Elizabeth, who had waited and waited for a child but became barren. God rewarded her for her faithful patience and blessed her with a child of her own.
The sharing of experience encouraged Mary and the congregation was invited outside to see Joseph, Mary and Jesus in the stable, and each received an Angel decoration from Gabriel as a reminder of the story.
Pam preached on the themes of waiting and gifts that come from the story. Messages are delivered that promise a great gift, and encouragement to wait. When we are consumed by fear and doubt, we need to pause and have faith in the comfort and promises of God.
In the evening we held our Carols by Candlelight service. You can read all about that and watch the livestream broadcast here.
On Christmas Eve we held a service for families of all shapes and sizes in the afternoon for singing, activities, craft and stories to bring us closer to the heart of Christmas.
Revd Dom and Revd Jane led the family bubbles in worship. We reenacted the Christmas Story and sang joyful Carols.
At midnight we quietened down for a reflective service of Holy Communion, welcoming in Christmas Day itself.
Revd Jane preached on how we approach and process the Good News of Christmas in the context of 2021. How do we cling to the light and hope we find in the Bible? That hope that doesn’t fade despite the uncertainty and fear in the world around us at the moment. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
It’s amongst the nitty gritty, everyday moments of life that God meets us and the important things happen. And we were encouraged to remember the nature of the loving Saviour that embodies our Hope and meets us wherever we are.
On Christmas morning we gathered for All Age worship at 10am to celebrate Jesus’ birth. We watched an “Upside down Nativity” acted out by children from New Zealand, that told the nativity story from the point of view of Heaven. It showed how shocking and unexpected the Christmas Story really is. The angels expected God to send down an army or a great warrior to fight for Him on earth, but instead he sent his own son, in the form of a vulnerable baby, born into poverty.
In Revd Margaret’s talk, she helped us to reconsider Christmas as the unexpected surprise that it really is. God looks at the world he created and longs to transform it, and draw His people back to His love. We considered Jesus as a transformer that comes into our world of pain and confusion and restores hope. Mary, the Shepherds, the Kings, Joseph… we see every individual in the Christmas Story, and throughout the live of Jesus transformed and drawn back to the love of God. The same is offered to each one of us, as the children of God in this world, we too can be transformed by His love.