Advent

December is upon us. A month of anticipation as we await once more the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. For the church the month of December is one of preparation.

Preparing for Jesus – who is the light of the world – to come into our lives and to transform us and the dark world around us. Many of you will be using an Advent calendar to tick off the days to Christmas; this may be a chocolate one, or one with pictures behind the windows, or maybe you will light a candle which burns down each day.

In the church we count down the weeks with our Advent ring.This has four candles around the outside.We light one for each of the Sundays and then a white candle in the middle which is lit at Midnight on Christmas Eve. This symbolises that Jesus is born.

we should not forget that
we need to prepare our hearts

We will all be very busy preparing for Christmas, with buying food and presents, decorating the house and tree etc., but we should not forget that we need to prepare our hearts and spirits to receive Jesus once again. How will we plan those few moments of quiet, which are essential for us? They may be when we open the calendars, when we wake in the morning, as we eat a meal or before we go to sleep at night. I suggest that planning our times of quiet will help us to welcome Jesus into our lives anew at this Christmas time.

The Holy family – Mary, Joseph and Jesus needed to made a long hard journey to Bethlehem to take part in the census. Their journey took a few days of walking and we know it ended up in the stable with the bir th of baby Jesus. What of our families this year? Will we journey to be with them or will they journey to us? Families are important and this is another time when bonds of love can be built and strengthened. Also we should all think and pray for families that will be apart from one another, such as those serving in Afghanistan and other countries.

could we invite a lonely person into
our Christmas celebrations?

Many people will be on their own this year for the celebrations especially the elderly who have lost a spouse. I know many in the village look out for the neighbours and help them during the whole of the year but my thoughts are that this year we could invite a lonely person into our Christmas celebrations to help cut down loneliness. How about asking them in for tea or coffee during the Christmas period, taking them a small present, or just knocking on the door to see whether they need help with shopping? We all have busy lives and it can take extra effort and giving of our precious time to do this but the blessing we will receive from helping another person far outweighs the difficulties.

There are many carol services and church services planned for this time of year and to find out more, please see www.christmasindenmead.info

A warm welcome awaits you at any and all of the services as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

With love at Christmas time and prayers for a Blessed New Year.

Sandra