December 2020

6th  December   Advent 2            Mark 1 v,1-8

This is the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:  “Behold, I will send my messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way.” “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.’ ” John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  People went out to him from all of Jerusalem and the countryside of Judea. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.  And he began to proclaim: “After me will come One more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Last week we began Advent, which starts a new Christian Year   It is a time to look forward to the coming of Jesus.  Such an event cannot be taken lightly and Christians are encouraged to prepare for such a huge event.  In today's Gospel we hear how John the Baptist urged the crowds to prepare by repenting of their sins.  Today's Church gives the same message to us..  That means looking at ourselves, admitting where we are going wrong, asking for God's forgiveness and making a fresh start,  " Repent" means turning round and going the other way.  We, as Christians have met Jesus and know how wonderful it is to be in His presence.  So we shall all want to repent and rebuild our relationship with Him.

From what do we want to turn away as we seek to follow Jesus more closely?  For each of us it will be different.  Each day in Advent, say a little prayer asking God to help you follow in His Way.


13th December     Advent 3           John 1 v,6-8. 

John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.  And he began to proclaim: “After me will come One more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

John the Baptist called the people to repent of their sins to prepare for the coming of Jesus.  The Jewish Authorities became concerned because of John's preaching and were made anxious by the crowds of people who followed him.  They sent messengers to ask John who he was. John's reply pointed away from himself to the Messiah who had been foretold by the prophets of old,  As we read this, we are reminded that it is our duty as Christians to point away from ourselves towards Jesus so that people will meet Him.

 How do we point others towards Jesus? 


20th December      Advent 4                        Luke 1 v,26-38

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,  to a virgin pledged in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  So the angel told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.  Behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom will never end!”  “How can this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.  Look, even Elizabeth your relative has conceived a son in her old age, and she who was called barren is in her sixth month.  For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it happen to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.

 On this last Sunday of Advent  We think of a young girl, Mary, who was called to be the mother of Jesus.  She was visited by an angel and was terrified!  She was just an ordinary teenager who had led a simple life and had probably been unaware of the existence of angels!!  The news that angel brought would turn Mary's life upside down. She had no idea of what lay ahead but realised that  she had been specially chosen. Her response to the angel was one of humility and obedience.  She knew enough about God to trust Him and He who had chosen her would stay with her, supporting her through her life.  

We don't know what lies ahead for us but, like Mary, all we need to do is listen for God's call to us and to follow Him with trust, knowing that He will be alongside each of us as we travel our journey as He was with her. Let us offer ourselves afresh in God's service as we celebrate the birth of Jesus,

A Happy Christmas to you all!


27th December      Christmas 1                 Luke 2  8-20

And there were shepherds residing in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night.  Just then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:  Today in the city of David a Saviour has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord!  And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying:  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests!” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the Baby, who was lying in the manger.  After they had seen the Child, they spread the message they had received about Him.  And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, which was just as the angel had told them.

It's all over!!   Or is it?   Two days ago we celebrated the birth of Jesus and for us it is just the beginning!  As the angels told long ago, we have heard the wonderful news that God loves us so much that He came to earth as a human baby to show us what He is like and ultimately to save us from our sins.  Hearing that news once more should have inspired us and given us hope for the year ahead.  The year 2020 has not been easy for any of us, but as we look back, surely we can see signs that God has been with us all the time  -  supporting us, comforting us, loving us whatever our individual experiences have been. As we hear the song of the angels proclaiming Jesus' birth, we remember that He will be there for us every minute of every day in 2021    What joy and peace should fill our hearts ! As we approach the year 2021, let us offer a prayer of thanks to God for His continued faithfulness. and love.

Let us dedicate the year ahead to following Him faithfully.


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