Merry Christmas, from the parish family of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, serving the BLT area.
As rector it is my joyful privilege to invite you to celebrate the wonderful, miraculous, inspiring and very human story of the birth of Jesus with us. It is certain that we all come to this time with our own stories of miracles, hardships, losses, challenges, strength and struggles.
Some of us face a first Christmas without someone we love, which is so hard because so much has changed and we ask how we can carry both sadness and celebration together? Some of us come to a new Christmas so unlike what we expected, because life has changed so much in just one year. We seek new strength, new purpose.
Some of us come to Christmas like we have so many times before, same old story, tree and decorations. Can Christmas possibly have anything for us we haven’t seen dozens of times before? Some of us come, feeling grateful and blessed, hearts filled with family time, the voices of children and grandchildren, lifelong friends, aware of what this year has given us and taken from us. We ask God to give birth within us, the ability to cherish our love, faith, family, friends, and pray that with all life brings us, we do our best day by day to see God is with us as we are with one another. We begin again with the baby Jesus, and follow in his footsteps.
I invite you to let the church be the place that holds you, whoever you are, however you are. Bring your loss, emptiness, happiness, celebration, depression, anxiety, laughter, energy. Bring it here. Let yourself be embraced by a community full of people who bring all of those things too. Bring it to the manger, look upon a very, very human story full of people with the same weaknesses and strengths as us. Look upon the face of a baby, the most beautiful thing we and God can create together, and listen for whatever God may say to you.
We will be journeying through Advent with services on Sunday mornings at 9am (traditional) and 10:30am (contemporary) doing our special Advent Wreath and lighting the candles, thinking about who we are and who we can be, as we prepare for Christmas Eve.
Services for Christmas Eve are as follows:
4:00 pm Family Service featuring the Sunday School Pageant, children’s talk and carols (Holy Eucharist).
6:30 pm Family Service with special Christmas Eucharist in contemporary form, sermon and carols.
10:00 pm Traditional Holy Eucharist, sermon and carols.
Also on Sunday Dec 29th we will be having our special lessons and carols service. A chance to sing the carols we love so much, matched with scripture readings and prayers. It is a truly lovely worship service and a wonderful chance to enjoy the ambience of Christmas before the season is over!
May God’s peace be with you,
The Rev’d Mark Pretty