Welcome to our Sunday service for December 13th 2020. As Christmas draws ever nearer, in this strangest of strange years, it feels important that we find reasons to celebrate and joyfully mark the festival of the birth of Jesus. It would be important in any year, but especially in this year, remembering Jesus, born as one of us, come to ‘save his people from their sins’ and point the way to new life. That feels like something worth celebrating.
At the same time, there are some for whom Christmas is a very hard time of year. This Christmas will be the first very hard Christmas for some people, for all kinds of reasons, whether related to Covid-19 or not. The concept of Blue Christmas was introduced some time ago in Churches to enable us all to live together as a family of faith taking care of, showing hospitality to, those who would most benefit from it at this time.
Today we have David Warrington from The Abbey Centre, one of our local Baptist Churches, preaching on this topic from John 12:1-8. David is a friend of Emmanuel, having been part of the team that encouraged us when taking part in our recent Ecumenical Review. It is good to welcome him amongst us this morning.
Even on a day when we recognise that this is not a joyful season for everyone, we will find time to be joyful (I hope) as we sing Carols for the first time this year. Many of the Carols we will sing over the next few weeks come from two sources, Christian BSL and Engage Worship. Both organisations have very kindly waived their copyrights for Churches to use their videos, which is a wonderful gesture.
We will also be creating with Krissy and hearing about Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. If you’d like to get started with the craft activity for this week, you can find it below
Krissy has also prepared an activity designed for children and families. You can find that below.
If you would like to spend some more time thinking about our reading from John’s Gospel for today, I hope the below document might help.
If you have a prayer request, something to celebrate, or a birthday to share. Do let us know. All these sharing help to make our services feel more like the family gatherings we’re used to Emmanuel Group services being.
It would be wonderful over the next few weeks if you would like to share examples of what you created during our season of Psalms Journalling, or anything else that you have felt led to create during this season of pandemic. Please do email pictures or videos and I will be glad to share them.
Some of our Church family will be meeting at Emmanuel today. We hope they have a great time together too. Thank you to everyone who has worked hard to put on our physically-gathered services over the last two Sundays and will do in the next few weeks too. Rectory Farm will be meeting in the Emmanuel building (it’s complicated!) on Sunday 20th and we will let you know plans for the rest of the month and the early part of January regarding services both online and physically-gathered over the next few days.