A warm welcome was given to Mary White who came to share some of her thoughts on the Advent, Christmas and Epiphany stories as covered in the 14 Stations of the Nativity’. Due to the limitations of space, readers are encouraged to reacquaint themselves with the various aspects of the ’Christmas Story’, where the story of our salvation begins as told by St. Matthew and St Luke.
1. Zechariah – we can be like this devoted man of God, not being able to accept that God does answer prayer even when it seems the time has passed or all seems lost.
2. The Annunciation – as with Mary, God speaks to us in different ways, as such we need to be prepared to listen to Him and accept what He has to say to us no matter how uncomfortable or unlikely.
3.The Visitation – let us like Elizabeth, so filled with joy about God’s blessings on our lives praise God in words, songs and actions.
4. Birth of John the Baptist – follow Zechariah’s example and do not let our own feelings or traditions prevent us from doing what God requires.
5. Joseph’s Dream – when doubts and fears arise take it to the Lord in prayer; let him direct our life’s journey.
6. The Birth of Jesus – yes the Messiah is born for all, however, Mary and Joseph will need all their faith to go on believing in the angelic visitations.
7. Shepherds and Angels – the shepherds were the first to hear the news of Jesus’s birth, a reminder that Jesus the ‘Good Shepherd’ born of a royal line came for those who would least expect it.
8. Shepherds to the Manger - born in a stable with smells of cattle around him yet Jesus is the Saviour of the world, pray that in the most humble of occasions or surroundings we do not fail to see God’s glory, grace or His continued presence.
9. The Naming of Jesus – the names we give to those we love can often mean so much to us, whatever people’s beliefs we know that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.
10. The Magi – probably the first gentiles to visit and worship Jesus, let our lives as their gifts recognise His, “kingship’, priesthood’ and sacrificial death”.
11. Presentation – like Simeon let our eyes be open to truth that God has kept His promise of salvation, that Jesus is indeed the light for the whole world.
12. Flight into Egypt – as we remember how Joseph and Mary had to flee to Egypt as refugees, may God give us compassion to care for the stranger, the refugee, the homeless in far off lands often fleeing persecution.
13. Massacre of the Innocents – today we still witness the mass slaughter of the lives not yet lived, however, give thanks that Mary’s child escaped Herod’s death command and grew into perfect manhood, suffered a greater torment and broke the tyranny of death once and for all.
14. Return to Nazareth – the ‘Holy Family’ return home where the first announcement of God’s promise was made, Jesus’ arrival had ended centuries of expectation. Before we return home to the heavenly Father, there is a requirement that we follow Jesus’s example and make the most of lives here on earth according to God’s will.
The Nativity story is not only about the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ, but the need for us to listen to those still small voices and to respond accordingly. We should be patient and never stop praying because things will happen when God wills it. Tell others when God has done good things for us. We are encouraged to practice forgiveness, gentleness and acceptance of all those we come in to contact with.
Jesus is there to accept us with open arms if we have faith putting our trust in Him, be there sorrow or joy.
Mary finished with this prayer
Jesus bearer of our humanity; Mary gracious gentle mother. Joseph faithful and loving protectors have mercy on us. May God grant that the Holy Family of Nazareth shall be our protection and guide day by day, year by year, leading us to the full revelation of His glory.
Ecclesfield in Bloom
Christmas Coffee Morning
At St Mary’s Church - Ecclesfield
Saturday 8th December 2012
Open 10.00 am to 12.30 pm
There will be stalls selling, Toys, Handbags, Jewellery, Decorations, Books, Raffle etc.
Refreshments will be available.
Limited Edition Paintings
Of St. Mary’s Church We have 8 Framed Prints of the Church in Quality Frames priced at £40 each
8 Unframed Prints of the Church priced at £20 each.
These would make great presents for Christmas or Birthdays.
That they had wrapped in a blanket and laid in a bed
And then they remembered the stranger who called.
It all had happened, just as he said.
By Megan Carter
Christmas Prayer Dear Lord,
What’s it really all about, this “season of celebration”? People rushing everywhere, overspending, double-booking diaries in frantic attempts to meet the demands of a twenty-first century Christmas. And what about those who find Christmas anything but joyful – those who have lost loved ones, those who are old and alone and tired and longing for it all to be over? What’s it really all about?
Lord, in the middle of the busy-ness and bustle, help us to remember that this is nothing new. Jesus came into a world of rush and frenetic activity. He came to a town so busy that there was no room for his family. And help us to remember that you know what it’s like to have a loved one – your dear Son - away from home at Christmas.
Lord, still our hearts, and open them to recognise and receive your great gift to us. May we make room for Jesus and know the peace and security of his presence this Christmas. Help us to know that this is what it’s really all about.
In the name of Jesus,
9 Castigated for using dishonest scales (Hosea 12:7) (8)
11 Weighty (1 John 5:3) (10)
14 ‘Now the serpent was more — than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made’ (Genesis 3:1) (6)
15 ‘Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot — God’ (Romans 8:8) (6)
17 Because Israel lacked one of these, tools had to be sharpened by the Philistines (1 Samuel 13:19) (10)
20 In his vision of the two eagles and the vine, this is how Ezekiel described the latter (Ezekiel 17:8) (8)
21 Rite (anag.) (4)
22 Nine gigs (anag.) (8)
23 ‘The eye cannot say to the — , “I don’t need you”’ (1 Corinthians 12:21) (4)
1 ‘Flee for your lives! Don’t — — , and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!’ (Genesis 19:17) (4,4)
2 Principal thoroughfare (Numbers 20:19) (4,4)
4 ‘The tax collector... beat his — and said, “God have mercy on me, a sinner”’ (Luke 18:13) (6)
5 ‘The zeal of the Lord Almighty will — this’ (2 Kings 19:31) (10)
6 ‘The day of the Lord is — for all nations’ (Obadiah 15) (4)
7 Specified day (Acts 21:26) (4)
10 Deadly epidemic (Deuteronomy 32:24) (10)
12 Roman Catholic church which has special ceremonial rights (8)
13 Tied up (2 Kings 7:10) (8)
16 In his speech to the Sanhedrin, Stephen described Moses as ‘powerful in speech and — ’ (Acts 7:22) (6)
18 ‘Although he did not remove the high places, — heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life’ (1 Kings 15:14) (4)
19 Tribe (Deuteronomy 29:18) (4)
Crossword Puzzle - Solution is on page 14.
Where did Christmas stockings come from?
No one is really sure, but a story is told of St Nicholas, a bishop who lived in the 4th century, who may have started the custom by accident. St Nicholas was of a wealthy family, and of a generous heart. As Christmas approached one year, he wanted to help a poor family whom he knew, but he did not want them to know it was him. So he climbed up on their roof on Christmas Eve and dropped some coins down the chimney.
The next morning the coins, to the great surprise of the family, were found in the stockings of the ladies, who had hung them to dry by the fire the night before. Every year after that they put their stockings out, in the hope that some more money would fall into them. They told the story of this amazing appearance to their friends and neighbours, and the custom caught on.The Bishop’s Letter, January 2013
‘Looking back and looking forwards….’
As I write this, I am 2 stone lighter than on 1st January, 2012. Hopefully by the time you read this I will be lighter still – but perhaps not as Christmas comes in between.
The weight loss is mainly due to two things. The first is Ann rather putting her foot down. The second is the inspiration and practical help from the Hairy Bikers, Si King and Dave Myers.
They turned themselves into the Hairy Dieters last summer on television and produced a book of recipes which has been my food bible for several months now. I’ve cooked my way through it from beginning to end.
My story last year demonstrates that you have to stick with your New Year Resolutions and that most of us need help and support.
So where do you hope your journey with God will take you in 2013? What resolutions are you making for the New Year?
One of mine every year is to get to know God better, to sink my roots deep into the soil of his love and to enjoy the adventure of living that bit more. That means I need to take time at the beginning of the year to plan out how that’s going to happen in different ways and at different times.
It’s vital that we look after ourselves. That means watching over our health. But it also means watching over our inner life – our relationship with God, our prayer, our growing in faith.
Your parish church will be offering some great ways to learn and grow and go deeper in faith this year. Make sure you plan to join in. Put the roots down and branch out in a new part of the journey.
And a very happy New Year to you and all those you love
Grenoside Singers are proud to present the popular
Annual Grenoside Christmas Carol Concert
Chapeltown Silver Prize Band
Join us to start the Christmas season on Monday 3rd December at Grenoside Community Centre
Performance starts at 7.30 pm - Entrance fee payable on the door