Good morning folks, how are you this morning? I hope you are managing through this latest lockdown (or is it lock-up? ). Please find this weeks Sunday Service below if you would like to listen to it. You might not be in the way of listening to these Services, I appreciate that they might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but why not take a seat and a cuppa and relax, you may find something of interest or comfort on this First Sunday in Advent. I will, as usual, post a printed version on my own Facebook page as I know that some of you like to print it out and pass it on the family or friends. Take care and God bless.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Good morning folks, I hope you are well on this 1st Sunday of Advent – the start of the Christmas period.
It is the first Sunday of the new Christian Year – but you won’t need a lump of coal or a piece of Black Bun – Advent is a time to prepare for Christmas – I don’t mean the presents, cards and food etc (as important as they are!) but preparing ourselves for all that the coming of the Christ-Child means to us – and we’ll be talking and thinking about that over the next few weeks.
So please, sit back and relax – as we explore today’s theme – The Advent, Light of the World.
If we were in Church right now, I would be asking one of our children to come forward and light the 1st Advent Candle – the candle of Hope.
The word ‘Ad-vent’ is similar to the word ‘pre-vent’ in that it means to do something before it happens – so, Advent is a time of preparing ourselves for the coming of Christmas – of Christ, before the event.
It’s a time when we think of the coming of the baby Jesus – but it also prompts us to think about, and prepare ourselves for, the day when Jesus returns in glory – the “2nd coming” – otherwise called the ‘Parousia.’ (why not google it).
Over these next 3 or 4 weeks, we shall be taking a closer look at the main characters in the whole Christmas affair and seeing how they all interact into one dramatic account of what took place when God chose to physically enter our world in the form of a vulnerable wee baby – and its repercussions for mankind.
One important feature at Advent and Christmas, is light.
And many churches and denominations will have an Advent Ring of candles of different colours, which are lit in sequence, one each Sunday of Advent, representing Hope, Love and Joy & Peace, respectively – with a white candle in the centre, which is lit on Christmas morning, representing Christ, the Light of the world.
Light is an important theme of Christ and of Christmas for people of faith.
When we are surrounded by darkness, what it is we need the most? Light.
Light gives us hope.
So we see that Hope, Faith and Light are all interwoven.
We see light all around us at this time – we see it in candles, in lights on the Christmas tree and in the multi coloured lights that brighten up our homes, towns and cities across the country – and around the world.
But what is it about lights?
Is simply an attempt to brighten up the drab dull days of winter?
Well, partly, but for many, subconsciously at least, another factor is at work – an inner yearning to believe that light can indeed dispel the darkness, joy can triumph over sorrow, good over evil,
love over hatred and life over death.
We may not be aware of it but these thoughts are the underlying themes of the Advent and Christmas lights.
However subliminal it may be, there is an awareness that these twin seasons speak of what the world could and should be like.
A world of Hope, Love Joy and Peace – a world where ‘Good will to all mankind ’ isn’t just for Christmas.
For the Christian, of course, the symbol of light also has a spiritual significance.
Light was spoken of by prophets long ago, glimpsed by shepherds out in the fields by night, guiding the wise men from the east, pointed to by John the Baptist, it was made flesh in Christ — the one who continues to shine in the darkness, bringing light both to the world and to our path.
“Jesus said – I am the light”
That message of hope lies at the heart of Advent and Christmas, shining today, just as it has through centuries past.
Most of us look forward to Christmas – but for Christians it is much more than just a party with presents.
It is a time to reflect on God’s goodness – and how His gift of His Son was the greatest gift He could give mankind.
He might rightly be called “The gift that keeps on giving” and that, in itself, is surely worth celebrating !
Many dismiss Christ as “not being relevant to todays world” but with all that is going on around us, the hope and comfort that He offers us is needed more now than ever.
Perhaps if the world knew more about Him and His amazing story they would understand who He really is and why He came to us – and all the promises and blessings that He offers each of us.
I hope that over the past few months those of you who might not have know too much about the whole God / Jesus narrative might, through my muddles words, have a better understanding of it all.
Over the next few weeks I hope, to “shed some light” on how it all began and who some of the main ‘players’ are in the most wonderful act of Love and kindness the world has ever, or will ever, know.
And this great ‘Cosmic occurrence’ took place for you and for me – how amazing! – how blessed we are – you and I!
And in the precious name of God’s only Son,
our only Hope – Jesus Christ.
We have a number of short readings this morning – all on our theme for today.
Firstly from the Old Testament ~
Psalm 18 : 28
“My God turns my darkness into light”
“Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”
Isaiah 2 : 5
“Walk in the light of the Lord…”
John 1 : 4-5
“In Him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness…”
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
“For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see?”
Titus 1:1- 2
“… knowledge of the truth leads us to Godliness, a faith and a knowledge resting on the Hope of eternal life which God promised before the beginning of time.”
Hebrews 11 : 1
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
These are the Words of the Lord – Thanks be to God.
Let us Pray
Holy, Heavenly Father – Lord of Light. Lord of Hope, we thank you for the many blessings that you give to us each day – so many that we take them for granted.
You are the great and glorious God who brought the world in to being and placed us just where we are meant to be to fulfill your purpose.
Help us to bring your light in the darkness – and hope to the hopeless.
Bless those living in darkness and despair, in pain and poverty.
Give them hope – and give us a willingness to offer help where we can – and prayer where we cannot.
Hear us now as we sit for a few moments in silence, bringing to you our own faults and failings – in our personal and private prayers……..a short time of silence for your own prayers…..
Listening Lord – as undeserving as we are – we pray that you will forgive us and bless us with your mercy and your Grace.
Lord we know that you hear us when we pray in faith – so hear us now as we say together – the prayer which brings us together as one family – the family prayer – the Lord’s prayer ~
Our Father.. Who art in heaven.. Hallowed be thy name.. Thy kingdom come.. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….. Give us this day our daily bread.. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.. Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .. For thine is the kingdom.. The power and the glory forever…. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
I saw this short poem the other day which seemed appropriate for today’s service –
and thought I would read it to you now ~
It’s called ~ ‘Between You And Me, Lord’
by Alora Knight
Between you and me, Lord, I’d like to say
It’s not always easy to follow Your way.
To understand what you mean by the Golden Rule
For creating good life, there’s no better tool.
It seems so easy to look down upon others
Yet I know that we are – all sisters and brothers
But it’s hard not to resent the neighbor next door
Who does so little work, yet has so much more.
There are so many tragedies that happen worldwide.
It brings much sadness – that can’t be denied.
Yet as I sit here complaining, when I know it is true
That all of those troubles were not caused by you.
Yes, it just seems to me, if I remember it right,
You gave us instructions to shine out your light.
If only we’d listen and your rules we obeyed.
What a wonderful world it would be,
if we all stopped – and all prayed.
Lord, I’m glad of the chance to discuss this with You.
I’ll try not to forget what I know I should do.
To spread light and hope, wherever I go,
So others will know, that You love them too.
Food for thought for all of us – on this first Sunday of Advent.
And now –
May the Love of Jesus go before you –
the Lord Almighty watch over you –
and the Holy Spirit go with you –
guiding and protecting you in all you say and do ….
And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father – Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may He be with your families and friends and all who you know and love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.
Next week we will be looking at the day that a young girl from Jerusalem gets a visit from a very important visitor!
Don’t miss it!!
Be sure to listen in next Sunday!!
Take care and May God Bless you
And your loved ones.
Have a good week – and please – keep safe
Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.
And can I remind those of you who aren’t too far away from Kilmacolm, that our Murray Chapel is currently opened for a time of personal Peace and Prayer, each day from Monday to Saturday from 11am – 1pm.
“Be still and know that I am God”
Psalm 46 : 10