Day 16

Giving and receiving Mary and Joseph on our posada is a special moment that requires us to think about what it means to receive Jesus not only into our home, but into our heart as well. This is what it says on the instruction card in the picture: Deliverer:  Will you receive Mary and Joseph into your home tonight? Receiver:   We / I will The deliverer then hands over the figures Deliverer:   Will you make room for Jesus in your heart(s) this Christmas? Receiver:    We / I will Deliverer:   Lord Jesus Christ, prepare our hearts to welcome you now, and                          may we be ready to welcome you when you come again.   AMEN While the figures are with you please take time to reflect on ways in which we need to prepare ourselves for our Saviour’s coming. May God Bless you through this experience.   Whether or not you have taken part in the posada this year it is still important to make room for Jesus in our hearts this Christmas. We will be thinking about this together at the Crib Service on Christmas Eve when when Mary and Joseph finally arrive at the stable. Will you be there to welcome them...

Day 15

Today in church we lit three candles on the Advent wreath. The third Sunday in Advent is known as ‘Gaudete’ Sunday, and it means ‘Rejoice!’ Happiness is an emotion that can disappear as quickly as it arises. Joy on the other hand is different because it is a choice we make. God gives us that choice. We can choose to live in an attitude of resentment, anger and fear or we can choose to pursue the joy of Christ. Which way will you choose? And what choices are we actually making? Joy means trusting when you want to doubt. In other words we need to share Mary’s response to the coming of Jesus, “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). This is an incredible response from a young girl who has just been told by an Angel that she will have a son when she hasn’t even married Joseph yet! Mary made the choice to trust in God. Joy means receiving what you want to reject. Can you imagine how the innkeeper would have felt if he said to Mary and Joseph, “Of course you can’t stay in that stable! That’s for paying customers. Who do you take me for?” I doubt he would have known deep joy. In reality we find joy in making room for people in need. Joy means celebrating when you want to fear. What is the first thing angels say when they appear to mortals? In just about every divine encounter the angels say: “Fear not.” We can imagine Jesus instructing His most...

Day 14

‘Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth’              1 Corinthians 1:26 God isn’t just interested in people who are powerful or clever or important – he loves all of us in our ordinary lives, and he calls each of us to our own special path in life and gives us the gifts we need to walk it. Loving God is an ordinary part of our ordinary lives, but some people find it extraordinary; some people might even make fun of us. The trick is to show people that loving God is not extraordinary or ridiculous, but a very normal part of life! ‘Lord God, you love me just as I am. Help me to show other people how much I love you in my normal daily routine. Please protect those Christians around the world who cannot do this and let them know that we will do whatever we can to help them. Amen.’ Mary and Joseph have travelled on their own special path from Bishopstone to Aylesbury but will head back into the parish...

Day 13

We are more than halfway through our Posada for this year. Advent is a bit shorter this time because the fourth Sunday falls on Christmas Eve, as close to Christmas day as it could be. When  December 25 was chosen as the date to celebrate the birth of Christ it was not because it was thought to be the actual date that Jesus was born. It was the time when pre-Christian people were celebrating the new birth of the sun. Christians who believed Jesus to be the true light of the world thought it would be a good time to celebrate his birth. The first official mention of December 25 as a holiday honouring Jesus’ birthday appears in an early Roman calendar from 336 A.D. We will never know the precise date that Jesus was born, but that doesn’t matter. We just need to celebrate that he did come into this world, and he brought the light of God’s love with him. ‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light’    Isaiah 9:2 Mary and Joseph have travelled to Bishopstone where they will be well cared...

Day 12

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”             John 3:16-17 How do you feel when a friend gives you a very expensive present? embarrassed, unworthy, humble, or all of these? The most precious gift God has given us is his son. Through him we have received the fullness of his love. How should we respond? there is a well-known chorus that goes like this: ‘Freely, freely, you have received Freely, freely give; Go in my name and because you believe Others will know that I live’  Through this Advent season Mary and Joseph will be given 21 times and received 21 times. Each participant RECEIVES first and then GIVES, and so it is with the gospel. We have already received from God and so we should respond by giving, or passing on his love to others. After being received in Chiltern Close Mary and Joseph were given and received in Oxford Road and then again in Sinclair Gate, and then again in Oxford Road. God’s love goes with them to each home they visit. Let us keep passing it on....