December 2018

Christmas Journey to ‘Follow the Star’

Dear Friends,

“Jesus came and made his home with us…
and we have seen his glory.”

(John 1:14 – paraphrased).

This year Church of England is inviting everyone to journey with them during Christmas season to ‘Follow the star’.

Archbishops Justin and John say, and I quote: “For many of us, Christmas brings up so many emotions, memories and expectations. We have one nativity story, but it can seem like we all have very different Christmases.

 

For you it might be a time of joy and togetherness. Or perhaps it’s all about planning and to-do lists.

 

Many others can find it a sad and lonely time – nagged by the feeling that your Christmas is not like those ‘perfect’ ones we see in the media. But just like the unexpected assortment of people who were invited to meet the baby Jesus, #FollowTheStar doesn’t ask you to be perfect.

 

It says: come just as you are to take the life-changing Christmas journey. Wherever you are this Christmas, you are invited to follow the star and to be with Jesus. You are welcome. You are deeply known and truly loved.”

In the parish we continue with the journey of reaching out in love and hope. This year’s Remembrance commemoration was marked with the first world war centenary.

We shared a solemn realisation that fear propagates fear, but Love and Hope foster Peace. When we give into fear, our reactions can become overly self-protective or overly-aggressive and we see examples of both around us. We are grateful to all the uniform leaders and members of St. James’ Church family for all their hard work.

We also had a successful Christmas fair on the 17th Nov, which raised funds to support various charities based locally and nationally. It was very well attended and a big thank you to all the organisers and wonderful and willing volunteers of St James Church family.

You are all very welcome to join us for all our Christmas services, especially for the Community Carol service on 3rd December at 5.30pm with the Arthur Terry Choir.

As part of the festive generosity St James will be offering free organ concerts on two Wednesdays in December for shoppers, workers and members of the Mere Green and Four Oaks Community. These concerts are offered by our own David Gumbley.

On the 5th December from 11.30 till 12.00, David will be leading the session of Coffee, Cake with classical Christmas music, and on the 19th December from 11.30 till 12.00, David will be leading the session of Coffee, Cake with famous traditional carols. Please join us and for more details contact our church office.

Each Christmas we are reminded of God’s longing to surprise us with his gift of joy, love and new life. It’s the greatest present we can receive and share with others! So this Christmas do not give in to fear: Remember the Angels’ words, “Peace on earth, goodwill to all.” It is relevant today more than ever.

This generous invitation to ‘follow the star’ is both personal and communal – open to ALL to come, see, experience and rejoice…

Hence the decision how to respond needs to be both personal and communal. But the question is would we trust this invitation and go and look for ourselves? or let fear and life circumstances take over this quest of hope… the choice is ours…

 Loving God, you invite all of us to come closer to you…
as you come closer to us through Jesus.
We pray that you would give the courage to move towards you. AMEN

God’s blessings to you and your family
for Advent & Christmastide

 

With love,

Daniel & Judith