Day 10

Christmas can be for many a nostalgic time of year, filled with warmth and peace, family and friends. But it can also be for some a time of struggle, sadness, even isolation. Around the world we see the challenges of homelessness, refugees, economic want, violence and terrorism. It is into this very world that our Lord Jesus Christ entered; and it is His Church that has been given the mission of offering hope and salvation in His Name. We must share not only the Good News of Jesus’ birth but also his love in practical ways. ‘We pray for your Church Lord, the Body of Christ. May we be so filled with your love for others that our actions touch the world with hope which lasts – even when the Christmas decorations have been put away. Amen’ Mary and Joseph have moved on to Oxford...

Day 9

No matter how old we are I am sure we all have memories of Christmas from our early childhood. Take a few minutes to be still and bring to mind the sense of wonder when you first heard the story of the birth of Jesus. Maybe you still have a set of nativity characters from your own childhood that you fetch down from the attic each year. We will be setting out the Church Nativity figures on Christmas Eve in our Crib Service, and reminding ourselves of the wonderful news of the birth of Jesus. Everyone is welcome.   Meanwhile we pray that our Mary and Joseph will be a focus for that sense of wonder and expectation in every home they visit, and not just for the children. Today they have moved on from Roundhill to Chiltern...

Day 8

Today in church we lit two candles on our Advent wreath because it is the second of the four Sundays in Advent. Each of the four red candles reminds us of those who prepared for the coming of Christ. Advent 1 The Patriarchs – we focus on Abraham our father in faith, and David in whose city Jesus was to be born. Advent 2 The Prophets – we reflect on the way the birth of the Messiah was foretold in the scriptures. Advent 3 John the Baptist – he prepared the way for Jesus and baptised him at the start of Jesus’ ministry. Advent 4 Mary – chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. Christmas Day – Jesus Christ the light of the world – the central white candle   Lord Jesus, light of the world, the prophets said you would bring peace and save your people in trouble. Give peace in our hearts at Christmas and show all the world God’s love. Amen.    ...

Day 7

Have you seen this year’s Christmas advert on BBC TV? it features a hard working single Dad and his daughter who is practicing her dance routine for the school Christmas concert. The daughter is hurt because she feels her dad has not been paying her any attention as he is always busy, often on his phone. When the girl steps out onto the stage at her big performance, she first thinks her dad is not there to support her and she is on the verge of tears. Then she sees him sitting at the back and, he hops onto the stage. He reminds her of the all-important dance moves she’s been practicing and we see them dance together in perfect harmony. Our Heavenly Father is never too busy to listen to us. We always have his full attention. Sometimes though we can feel as though he is not listening. What joy when we discover that he has not only been listening all along but that he is there beside us as well! We might not recognise that until the moments we step out of our own comfort zone and acknowledge our dependence on him. I am always amazed at Mary’s response when she is told by the Angel that she will have a baby ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said’. Mary would soon be moving out of her own ‘comfort zone’ but she trusted totally in God to be with her – and so must we when we step out on our journey of faith with him. Mary and Joseph have...

Day 6

Most of us are familiar with Advent customs such as calendars (with or without chocolate!), Advent wreaths with candles, and Advent candles themselves. While these traditions are popular they aren’t the only way that Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Around the world there are other customs too. Many (but not all) are part of the Catholic tradition. In Alpine countries children carry a statue of Joseph to a different home each night during Advent. Then on Christmas Eve Joseph is put next to Mary in the stable. There are similarities here with our village Posada but in our custom Mary travels with Joseph as a representation of the journey they took together to Bethlehem. Our Posada is based on the Mexican tradition which originally came from Spain. However, in Mexico people dress as Mary and Joseph and process through the community from house to house. They only do this for the last nine days of Advent though. This year is our fifth Posada and it has already become an established custom. We hope you enjoy taking part. We hope it brings us together as a community, waiting and preparing for the birth of Jesus. Our Mary and Joseph have now travelled to Eythrope...