Day 21 the final step

We finally made it! Mary and Joseph arrived in Stone Church during the Crib Service on Christmas Eve and have now taken their place in the stable beneath the altar. There were so many of you who came to welcome them that it really did feel like a homecoming. Thankyou everybody who came. We believe it was approximately 200 adults and children. Thankyou also to all the households that offered hospitality along the way. Thankyou as well to everyone who took part in the service – readers, angels, shepherds, wise men, and our live Mary and Joseph too. Although the presents will have all been unwrapped, the turkeys cooked, and the last carols sung, this is just the beginning. God’s son came into the world and his spirit is still with us. One day he will return and we must always be prepared for his coming. Happy day after Christmas And merry rest of the year Even when Christmas is over The light of the world is still here (from ‘Happy Day after Christmas’ by Matthew West) During the Crib service we placed our figures of the wise men at a distance from the stable because they are still travelling. We know that Jesus was a young child by the time they found him. We will be celebrating their arrival in our ALL AGE FAMILY SERVICE at 10.30am on 7th January. Everyone is welcome ! PS If you have thoughts of your own on our posada or Advent preparation in general please send them in to our...

Day 20

Are we nearly there yet? Yes we are!! just one more night before we welcome Mary and Joseph into the church at the end of their long journey. To those of you who have taken part – thank you for your hospitality. To those of you who wish you had taken part – join us next year!! Our annual posada is a shared journey. It is something we do together. We are all links in a chain. We are one community, wanting to reflect on the miracle of God taking on human flesh. Fully human, and fully divine. ‘We give thanks for the fellowship that belonging to a community brings. Thank you Lord for the church of which we are members. Bless all who share in its life and worship. Amen’ Lord Jesus, help us to share the good news of your coming with those around us. Prepare us in mind and spirit as we wait for you to return to our world once more. Amen’   Mary and Joseph are still travelling for now. They have moved on to Dinton from where they will come to Stone Church. Join us there at 4pm on Christmas Eve when we will gather to welcome them....

Day 19

After Jesus was born, some wise men heard that a King had been born. They wanted to find the King so that they could worship and honour him. As you know, the wise men did not have a map or a sat nav to guide them to Bethlehem, they had something even better. God gave them a star to guide them. When they found Jesus they gave him gifts and bowed down and worshipped him. Of course we do not know the exact nature of the star. Many theories have been put forward from scientists much more clever than me. The important bit to remember is that the wise men came a long way and were persistent in their desire to find the new king. Wise men today are still seeking Jesus. We don’t look for him in Bethlehem, because he is no longer there. He is on his throne in heaven. We don’t need a map to help us find him — we don’t even need a star to help us find him. We can find our way to Jesus by reading God’s Holy Word! The Bible is our map and our star that leads us to Jesus. ‘Dear Lord Jesus, we seek you today because we want to worship you and crown you as our King. We are thankful for the Bible which we have been given to lead us to you. Amen’ Mary and Joseph have travelled back from Upton and are visiting Beacon...

Day 18

Some of Israel’s great heroes were shepherds — Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. Both Psalm 23 and Jesus compare God’s care to that of a Good Shepherd. But at the time when Jesus was born shepherds — specifically hired shepherds — had a reputation for dishonesty and for stealing. Jesus however distinguishes between the good shepherd and the hired shepherd. He tells a parable of the shepherd leaving ninety-nine sheep in the fold while searching the hills to find the missing one. Perhaps this is because Jesus, who spent his time with the despised and sinners, knows and appreciates them as people. There is no suggestion that the shepherds to whom the angels appeared were not devout men but they would not have held any status in society. How amazing it is then that the angel brings the joyful news first of all to these ‘salt of the earth’ types – a Saviour – the expected Messiah has been born! Extraordinary news coming to very ordinary people! Christ the Lord, born not in a palace, but quietly, humbly in the back streets of Bethlehem. We are told that the shepherds ‘hurried off’ to Bethlehem to find the baby and when they had seen him they ‘spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child’. Let us all follow their example and with joy share the good news with our neighbours and friends. Mary and Joseph are continuing their journey in our parish. They have now visited Ford Road and moved on again to...

Day 17

We all love the story of the Nativity, and we picture Jesus as a baby laying in a manger with his mother Mary caring for him. Yes, it is an incredible story that the son of God should take on human form in this way. Yet it is even more incredible that the baby grew into a man who had power over life and death and eventually died for each one of us. The words of this popular song reflect on how much of this Mary would have understood when she cared for her baby son. We too must reflect on the whole story of Jesus both as baby and as a man. Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water? Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man? Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand? Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God Mary, Did You Know? lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group Meanwhile, our Mary and Joseph are still travelling. They have moved on to Whitechurch Close where they have found comfortable lodgings....