“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” - Isaiah 9:6
My kids ask amazing questions about God. My recent favourite was a couple of nights ago when Norah, nearly asleep, said “Mum, does God wear a bowtie?”. My response, with laughter stifled, was “I don’t know sweetie, but that would be cool”. I often watch as our girls try to understand God. They process the things we tell them about God and who he is through their understanding of the world. “Why can’t I see God with my eyes?”… “Is God really big?”… “Does God wear a bowtie?”
On some level that’s what we all do, isn’t it? We struggle to understand things that don’t make sense through our lens of the world and we cling to the things that do. This is part of what makes the gift of Jesus so incredible; we can understand him (or at least parts of him). He came to translate God and his Kingdom to us through our worldly eyes. He probably didn’t wear a bowtie, but if he were born in a different time then maybe!
A different night, while putting the girls to bed (all the best convos seem to happen at that time of the day), somebody asked “Mum, why can’t we see God?”. I responded by trying to explain the Holy Spirit to them and quickly realised this was probably too complicated of an approach at 4 and 6! So I gave them each a hug and said “Do you feel that? The feeling inside when I hug you?” They did. And I said, “That’s love. That’s what God feels like.” Anytime we feel love, peace, joy… we know that’s God.
So this Christmas, as you reflect on the incredible gift of Jesus, gather with those you love or give gifts that bring joy to those around you, remember that the full hearts we have as we do these things are from God. The peace, joy and love that we feel are a part of the gift of Jesus to our broken and hurting world.
Merry Christmas All Saints whānau! May every one of you be able to feel God deeply in this season and have eyes to see his Kingdom all around us.
Kia ora All Saints Family.
Guy here this week, I dont know about you but this year i have been completely (as my wife would say) whacked up the side of the head, we might say here in NZ smacked with a piece of 4x2, never mind the phrase you use I have experienced a very thin space this advent season that I havent previously.
It is this.... Each day and week as we go throughout Advent we are asked to look at the story of Gods redeeming love for us! a love that seeks so desperately to reconnect to bring us back into communion with Him. We learn of characteristics like Hope, Joy Peace and then this week Love. Here is where the real smack between the eyes came.
I was encouraged by a friend in America who had a playlist on spotify of only different versions of O come Emmanuel you can find it here if you want. As I was doing that I found i stumbled across a carol i really love, i'm a sucker for a good key change massive build bit belting voice! The song is called Noel by Lauren Daigle. The bit that grabbed me was the lyric "NOEL! NOEL!! Come and see what God has done" I found myself sitting there just completely awe struck. Thats it! See what God has done! for us! for you! for me! Then, Now, and for all those who are to come! Its not a fairy tale! Its a God who so desperately wanted relationship that he sent to us his only son so humble.
As we gathered this Wednesday for Eucharist I was sharing about this space that I was sitting in during Advent and how this fresh revelation was impacting me, we talked about the lectionary reading for that day which came from Luke 17 where John the Baptist sends some messengers to ask Jesus "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" Jesus wasnt what people thought he was going to be, He then performs a bunch of miracles and says go and tell what you have seen here! SEE WHAT GOD HAS DONE! I was reminded of a twitter post that a friend of mine Craig Greenfield shared.
This is powerful! The season of Advent is not to be missed! May our hearts turn eagerly to what God is doing and has done! May our hearts this Christmas be aligned to where God is moving!
YES Come and see what God has done!
Come and see what God is doing!!
With Love and Blessings,
Guy, Summer, Andy and Emily.
Kia ora church, I (Guy) thought it would be awesome for us to have a forum where we can share our musings, wonderings, kairos moments, things God is saying to us through Romans 8:18-30 as per the challenge of Tony Hill this week.
Comment below and share what has stood out to you, what you have found tough, joyful, encouraging, or new.
Blessings to you all.
Kia ora All Saints whānau,
The countdown to the birth of Jesus is on! I (Emily) tried to get all my Christmas shopping done in October and November this year and thought I did well and yet I still seem to have missed some. One of the big reasons I tried to get sorted early is to avoid the mall we live so close to - the traffic around it is ramping up and people are heading there in droves! Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if people flocked to our churches like that, where true joy comes from (or should!).
Speaking of the mall, there is one part of Christmas there which I absolutely love and it's the Salvation Army brass band. I find it incredible that they are able to unashamedly preach the Gospel beautifully through their music, with songs about Jesus filling the mall, where many people likely wouldn't consider Jesus at all this season. They seem to me to be a little light of hope in an environment of stress and consumerism. I wonder if there are any situations that you or I could be a similar little light in our communities. How can we be a non-anxious presences to others? How can we show joy that doesn't come from a wallet? How are we being Jesus in our local communities we find ourselves in, or with our neighbours?
I would love to hear any little things you are doing so we can encourage each other. May God bless you all this week
Ngā mihi nui,
Emily, Summer, Guy and Andy
Can you believe that on Sunday there will be 20 days till Christmas?
Leading up to Christmas here are some thoughts surrounding our Values leading into Christmas.
Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation. We are excited about the coming of Jesus at Christmas, however we also are excited about the second coming of Jesus where the kingdom and earth will fully meet. We are a parish centred on Jesus and therefore Christmas is integral to this story of Jesus. May we continue to find meaning in the lead up to Christmas and in amongst the hive of activity.
Saturday marks a day in the calendar where our community meets at the Hataitai Carols on the Green. Being there is supporting our community and encouraging the spirit of Christmas amongst us all. This is another opportunity to integrate ourselves into the Hataitai-Kilbirnie area and we are excited that for this we also get to share the message of Jesus. Do come along if you can make it!
The COVID-19 Protection Framework came into play this week. This is a big step as our Parish prepares to become a Vaccine Pass only venue. We have made huge steps to make sure that everyone feels cared for in this process. We want to make sure we are catching everyone who cannot come to church because of this step and please let us know so we can organise other ways to keep you connected.
You may also want to create a community that cares for one another whether or not we agree and I would encourage you that if you know of someone who is isolated, feel free to care for them. Authentic community cares and loves one another in our neighbourhood and I hope we can do this together.
Please read the newssheet this week to make sure you catch all the information required for the Vaccine Pass and how you can submit it early to save us some hassle on Sunday.
Have a blessed week and may you find love, joy and peace in all you do.
Andrew, Emily, Guy and Summer.