Monday, December 18, 2017

Looking Ahead to December 24, 2017 -- Christmas Eve

There are two services this coming Sunday. One in the morning and one in the evening.

During the morning service we will be celebrating the sacrament of baptism. We then will join in exploring the story of Christmas.

Our evening service will be at 8:00. At that service we will have lots of music as the Handbell Choir, Junior Choir and Adult Choir will all be taking part, along with a number of carols being sung by the congregation. As is our custom, the service will close with candle lighting and the singing of Silent Night by the glow of our candles.

The Scripture Readings for the evening service are:
  • Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
  • Luke 2:1-21
There will also be a couple of poems read, one written by J.R.R. Tolkien and one written by Madeleine L'Engle.

The Christmas Reflection this year is called A Child is Born

Early Thoughts: Birth. It changes things. Every child that is born makes a different family, makes a different city, makes a different world. Whenever a new member joins a community the community is changed.

The change may be small. It may take a while to know the difference. Or the change might be overwhelming, noticeable immediately. But there WILL be change!

What kind of change does the birth story we tell this night presage?

What is being born as we sit and listen for angel song this Christmas?

At Christmas we celebrate a birth that happened 200 years ago. At Christmas we celebrate a birth that happens this very night.  Both. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus the man from Nazareth, we celebrate the coming of the kingdom that Jesus will announce as an adult. We also celebrate that the angelic announcement is as much for us as it was for the shepherds of Luke's account.

For to US a child is born. For to US a son is given. For to US is born this night in the City of David...

Birth, it changes things.  Tonight we mark a birth that has changed, is changing, and will continue to change the world.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Looking Ahead to Blue Christmas

This Sunday afternoon at 3:00 we are having our Annual Blue Christmas service.  This service is that time when we pause to recognize that sometimes the Christmas season can be difficult for some people. Maybe money is tight and the stress of trying to meet expectations is unbearable. Maybe this is the year that an adult child is not coming home for the first time (or conversely that the grandparents can no longer travel in the winter). Maybe this is that first Christmas after a death in the family, or maybe is the the 10th, or 21st, or 40th...

For whatever reason, Christmas can be hard. And so we need to give each other space to feels the hardness, We need to ask how God is speaking into the anxiety or the emptiness this Christmas.

Because God is. God speaks to our joy and to our sorrow, to our hope and to our despair, to our comfort and to our discomfort.

The Scripture passages we will read on Sunday afternoon are:
  • Isaiah 40:1-11
  • Luke 2:1-8
As usual, we will have time for people to light candles as a part of our quieter reflection on where God is in the midst of the season.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Looking Forward to December 10, 2017 -- Advent 2

This Sunday we will celebrate the Sacrament of Communion

The Scripture reading this week is Isaiah 55:1-13

The Sermon title is Go Out in Joy

Early Thoughts:
They could be forgiven for having no hope. After all, they were living in exile, a defeated and enslaved people whose land and temple had been destroyed. And to these people God speaks through Isaiah saying:
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price...Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
In the midst of the lives of scarcity, shattered dreams, and despair God speaks of abundance and promise and hope.

If we are honest, we would admit that we do spend our money and our labour in ways that are often less than satisfying. Often those choices feel forced upon us. And short of the Kingdom of God coming to full flower I am not sure that will totally change anytime soon.

On the other hand, the passage reminds us, there is more about life than those things.  God is still active and changing the world. God's word (the word of life, of love, of hope) is still falling on the world. God is still speaking, and God promises that God's word will have an impact -- eventually at least..

Which means that we can go forth in joy and peace, we can join in the celebration of the earth.

Christ is coming, the birth of hope is nigh, Joy shall come, even to the wilderness.