Christmas Week: Welcome
December 24, 2014
Christmas Message from the Bishop
Our images of the birth of Jesus are too frequently wrapped up in an unlikely backdrop of peace and tranquillity, with ‘the Little Lord Jesus’ making not a murmur, let alone crying, after Mary had given him a trouble-free birth in the peaceful little town of Bethlehem. Those who know anything about childbirth and babies will not need to be told how unlikely such a backdrop is! Furthermore, history tells us that he was born into a world of racial and political oppression. There wasn’t then very much about the Bethlehem area that was peaceful. No change there then!
Also unlikely is any notion that the life of Jesus would be trouble-free. St Luke, in his carefully-crafted version of the Gospel, leaves us in no doubt that this child would grow into a man who, whilst being a focus of adoration for some, would be the focus of loathing for others.
Nevertheless, he would be the Prince of Peace, as the Prophet Isaiah had foretold. But the peace for which he would call and model in his own life would not be the easy-option peace that some might fondly crave. It would be peace founded upon costly truth, hard-won justice and self-sacrificing love; values that would build the Kingdom of God. It would require real effort, hard work; and calling for it, let alone building it, would cause deep controversy and many divisions . . . .
Read the rest of Bishop John's Christmas Message on our Diocesan Website here.
Prayer for lighting the Advent Candle
(This prayer can be used either in church or at home for lighting your candle)
your Son, Jesus, was born on earth
that we might enter your kingdom.
As heaven and earth rejoice in his birth
may we, with shepherds and angels,
welcome him into our hearts.
(The candle is lit)
God our beginning and our end,
be our joy and our light.
Cafodd dy Fab, Iesu, ei eni ar y ddaear
Er mwyn i ni fynd i mewn i’th deyrnas.
Wrth i’r nefoedd a’r ddaear lawenhau yn ei enedigaeth
Boed i ni, gyda’r bugeiliaid a’r angylion,
Ei groesawi ef i’n calonnau.
(Goleuir y gannwyll)
Dduw ein dechrau a’n diwedd,
Bydd ein llawenydd a’n goleuni.
Carol for the week
Joy to the World by Bruce Cockburn
The Christmas Journey
A special day of joy and light for the world! The special star shone above Bethlehem. Jesus was born in a simple stable surrounded by animals. Mary, cwtched the baby Jesus, and then wrapped him snugly and gently laid him in a manger. Shepherds and the wise men came and worshipped the baby king sent by God to bring peace to the world.
Making a Christmas Angel
Christmas is here! For those of you who would like a last minute craft project here is a Christmas angel to make. You can place your angel in your Christmas tree or make one for each member of your family and use them as place cards on your Christmas table. They are very easy but you might need a grown up to help with cutting out.
You will need:
A small paper plate
Scissors and pencil
Sequins, glitter, felt pens or a fancy hole punch.
How to make:
- Using the first picture draw the outline onto your plate with a pencil. The horizontal cut lines need to be a little above half way up the plate.
- Cut out carefully, one cut for the wings goes outside to in, the other side inside to out.
- With the angel facing you, shape her skirt into a circle and slide the outside cut over the inside one to make her wings.
- Now you can decorate your angel in whatever way you wish and if using as a place card writes a name on the front of her skirt.
Advent events around the Diocese
If you have any events, concerts or carol services taking place or any other activities in your parish which you would like to advertise or share with us please send details to us via our vision email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to include them in next week's advent page.
For information on events taking place around the Diocese this Advent and Christmas please visit our events page here.
Christian Aid have produced a number of resources for Advent. There are two related resources, Advent reflections and Bible Studies.
My Advent Journey is designed as a prayer resource for adults and invites contributions to the work of Christian Aid:
For children there is also an Advent Journey, a kind of interactive Advent Calendar (without chocolate!) We travel in the company of Waleed Badir, a young Palestinian boy, learning something about his life each week.
Fantastic Family Ideas for Advent activities – from Flame Creative Children’s Ministry:
'The Nativity' DVD - first shown on the BBC in December 2010, written by Eastenders scriptwriter Tony Jordan. You can see part of the show on Youtube by following this link. The full DVD can be purchased on Amazon.
Posada - The idea of travelling crib sets comes from an old Mexican tradition. Posada was the tradition of young people dressed as Mary and Joseph travelling from house to house asking for a room for the night and telling people about the imminent arrival of Jesus in the weeks leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve they would visit the local church to re-enact the nativity and place figures of Mary and Joseph in a crib. Modern day Posada uses nativity figures of Mary and Joseph who travel from place to place. this gives each 'host' the chance to create their own celebration in their home or place in the community, worshipping and reaching out to their communities with the real message of Christmas, making room for Jesus in their lives.
Messy Church - Advent and Christmas: See a range of ideas (Advent Candles, Messy Nativity, Nativity Sheep Trails, The Gingerbread Nativity - and more) by visiting the Messy Church website.
'Talk Talk for Christmas and New Year' is written by Lucy Moore and Jo Cox and produced by The Ugly Duckling Company. Table Talk is a game to get people talking about the big issues in life; the Christmas and New Year version is an all age resource. It costs £25.00 and is available from their website.
Haphazard by Starlight - An anthology of poems and reflections, one a day from Advent to Epiphany. (2013 SPCK)
Do Nothing . . . Christmas is Coming: An Advent Calendar with a Difference by Stephen Cottrell in 2007. 'Do Nothing to Change Your Life' encouraged us to nurture our inner slob. Now 'Do Nothing . . . Christmas is Coming' turns to what, for many, is the busiest time of year. Published by CHP, you can see more about this here.
Unapologetic by Francis Spufford - A great book for your Christmas stocking! Published by Faber and Faber, read more about it on their website including a video of the author talking about the book.
‘The Time is Now’ is a well produced Advent Calendar for thinking people. It is a daily video with a reading, message and some thought provoking questions. You can follow it alone, with a friend or in a group. http://www.rzim.eu/thetimeisnow
It is presented by Amy Orr Ewing from RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries).