Anyone else feeling the pressure leading up to Christmas? Many things to do, presents to buy, plans to organise, work to complete - all with a deadline. I wonder how Mary and Joseph felt knowing they had to make such a long journey to Bethlehem before their baby was born. That's a pretty important deadline! Or if they felt stressed trying to find somewhere to stay in time. I imagine it didn't feel like it went to plan for them, but God had a bigger plan. Last week Rebekah talked to us about expectations - where are we expecting God to move this Christmas? Do we have hope that God can answer prayer and restore broken parts of our lives and our world? In this last week of Advent as we await the birth of a surprisingly small Saviour, let's wait on God, bring to God the needs of those around us, and expect God to act. Because even when we feel like things aren't going to plan, or life is too stressful, God is continuing with the grand restoration plan for us all. Heaven and earth met on Christmas morning. May you have moments of heaven meeting earth this Christmas also! God bless, Emily Spence Co-Vicar
Kia ora All Saints Whanau,
This week I had the pleasure of attending the Roast Lunch that Ginny organised. more than 50 people were there and it was such a great joy sharing food together and chatting to all the people who turned up from many different parts of life. There was a reminder at this Wednesday's communion service that although many of us enjoy family and many wonderful gifts, some as they age and get older are more susceptible to be without, far away from or not enjoy Christmas the same way. I hope that things like this lunch are a way we can draw together fun experiences for people in our neighbournood and networks that are too feeling alone this Christmas. Special thanks to Ginny and all those that helped put this together - it was a marvellous event!
This week our Sunday services reading is Matthew 11:2-11. It is focussed around John the Baptist again. As we prepare the way for Jesus this Christmas may we too be like John the Baptist - someone who showed the way to Jesus. It is a reminder to us all to focus on the idea of what Christmas is all about - the incarnation of Jesus. A god lowers himself to become human in order to rescue the world. What a message of hope that is and an example to live by.
Coming up this Sunday at 7pm is our Nine Lessons and Carols event. It will be an excellent event with the choir leading us in the carols. Please continue to invite friends, family and anyone who may want to come.
We continue to fill our Christmas rosters and your help is appreciated. We are slimming down the roles so there are not as many to fill but it would be great to get a good collective prepared to show hospitality to our neighbours.
Bless you all this week - may you find hope, love and joy.
Kia ora All Saints whānau,
Advent is here - we are clearly in the throws of Christmas preparation.
The other day Emily and I put up our Christmas Tree and then finding we had some more lights I put some across our house outside. Leon loves it when he sees it at night and just looks up in wonder at the lights. It is some of the joy of Christmas and kids get it. All I have done recently is say "I have a lot to do before Christmas." It struck me how different our reactions are to the coming Christmas. I am worried about the lists and the tasks, Leon is just struck by the wonder. I pray and hope that during Advent as we prepare for the coming saviour, we take time to recognise and see the wonder of that moment.
This week we continue our Advent series 'Preparing the way..." with Theo bringing us the message. I am so looking forward to what Theo will bring us and excited about being in the room with ya'll.
Coming up we have Nine Lessons and Carols on the 11th December, which will be a great night of carol singing and biblical readings. If there is anyone you think would enjoy this then please pick up a flyer from outside the church office. You can also find flyers for all our Christmas services there.
Secondly, if you are available to help us out on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day please give your name to Ginny in the office so we can make sure we welcome anybody coming to our services.
See you Sunday