Imagine the commotion and excitement amongst the angels in heaven… The Trinity, the God head – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, who have been together since… forever (!) – the time has now come for Jesus to be sent down to earth. God’s mission is becoming really interesting. Christmas, a word that means “Christ-sent”… Jesus being sent down into the world means Christmas is coming!
As we celebrate Christmas this year – as we #FollowTheStar to Bethlehem (a theme we will be following) – I wonder how will we each respond to the Angel Gabriel’s words to Joseph?
Mary will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
Christmas is an amazing good news story. Jesus came into the world at Christmas, as the “Word become flesh”… as God become human… to save us from our sins, to forgive us our sins, to restore our broken relationship with God, and to give us the confidence, willingness and grace needed to work at our relationships with others too.
John’s gospel says this too… “To all who received him, to those who believed his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children… born of God” (John 1:12-13).
How amazing that as a Christian, on the one hand we are an ordinary human being, as ordinary as the baby Jesus was with his mum Mary, step-dad Joe and four brothers (Mark 6:3), yet on the other hand we are Children of God too.
We have a loving Father in heaven who is here for us, watching over us, and waiting for us to #FollowTheStar to his Son Jesus – our brother! (Yes Jesus is our brother – read Hebrews 2:11)
Thank you to everyone who helped to make the Centenary of the End of World War One so prevalent and significant in our local communities last month. The support we had in both Hope Church and Emmanuel Church from Castell Alun, Ysgol Estyn, Ysgol Abermorddu and Ysgol Penyffordd, the uniform groups, community groups and individuals in both Hope and Penyffordd was fantastic.
The poppy cascade on Hope Church Tower was absolutely stunning – who would have thought red cardboard in laminated plastic could look so effective! The clock tower in Penyffordd village centre – It was delightful to see many gathering around showing each other the poppies that they had made and admiring the creativity of others. The Activity Day in Hope and Caergwrle was so effective too. Hope Church, Hope Community Library and the Boys & Girls Brigade Hall had a continuous stream of visitors all day long.
The First World War brought the communities together through hard times and then at its’ end joyful times (albeit hard times continued too); who however would have predicted that the First World War would continue to bring communities together 100 years later in the way it has done in Hope and Penyffordd too?
How wonderful it is now though that we now fall into the festive season and once again have so many opportunities to come together as a community again as we celebrate that “Christmas Starts with Christ” in our Parish of “H-O-P-E” (“Helping-Other-People-Everyday” Remember!)
Finally, it is hard to believe that ‘Hope.4.All’ our ‘All’ Age Event in ‘Hope’ at ‘4’ o’clock every Sunday is nearly one year old. We are now a congregation with an average age of 35 (!), with more than 30 weekly regulars plus occasional attenders. We meet for an hour and a quarter and as with all our worship we gather to meet with God and His Spirit, learn how to follow Jesus better and hopefully leave as better people. We begin with coffee, listen to the Bible, sing newer songs, make use of audio-visual technology and get the children involved leading too – reading and playing the drums so far! The main talks are geared to adults – and the children move to the back of the church for their own teaching time (or they can stay with you as you wish! They’re your children!). If you’ve not yet given us a go – yes we have all our Christmas specials – come to those too (!) but why not (say) this Advent (or in 2019), decide, that once the Sunday morning sport is over and the shops have closed (well some of them!), you will join us on a Sunday afternoon too?
Have a blessed Christmas, Adam
Fr. Paul Wheeler