Sunday morning’s meeting was led by Major Ian F Payne with the theme ‘Open wide the stable door’. ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about’.
Following the initial announcements by CSM Tim Scott we were asked to consider what was our picture of advent. We were shown a variety of pictures of the manger scene and it was suggested that we open wide the stable door to share the peace which was brought to earth that day. The congregation then shared the peace before singing the carol ‘Child of Mary, Son of God’. It was the turn of the Pennington family to choose a song, ‘Angels from the realms of glory’, light the advent candles and then share a prayer. Andrew prayed and drew our attention to the unparalleled happenings in the world today which began similarly when God sent Jesus into the world.
The Singing Company sang their favourite song of the moment ‘Feliz Navidad’ – ‘Merry Christmas to you’. A video clip was then shown relating to Peace. ‘Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. The peace that passes understanding’.
Major Ian read from Matthew 2 and stressed that the wise men left no stone unturned when searching for the Messiah. They were in the right place at the right time and left full of joy. ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ was the next carol sung before Songster Ldr Carolynn Woodman and daughter Isabella sang ‘That First Christmas Day’.
In his message, Major Ian asked ‘What catches your eye when you think of the stable and manger scene? What did Joseph think? He had a plan to put Mary away but then he had to see the situation and respond to God’s plan. When we see more clearly what God requires of us, we have a choice to make. God’s will must be done – that is what matters. This is not to be boasted about but carried out quietly. This week the cupboards were emptied of toys when over 200 parcels were distributed but they are now full again as people have continually brought parcels in from the community for us to distribute. As we open the stable door, we open and share the peace with the community. As we share we will see a change in people’s lives. May God bless you as you find your place in the manger scene.
After a time of reflection the Christmas carol ‘Carillon of the bells’ was sung to the accompaniment of Major Ian with his bronze desk bell, joined by another in the congregation.
The evening was a time of relaxation and meditation. Following the serving of mince pies and seasonal punch, (thank you Major Judith) and lots of conversations, the evening began with scripture verses all referring to ‘Light’ read by Steve Wood, Genesis 1, Jean Jones, John 8:12, Penny Clay, Luke 8:16 and Susan Willard, John 3:19. During the singing of the first song: ‘Light of the World SASB 114, the candles were lit from the advent candles.
Candles lit, the carol ‘Away in a manger’ was sung and then CSM Tim Scott read the first reading ‘Shepherds hope‘ (Click the link for text). The evening continued with the singing of carols interspersed with readings listed below with links to text – well worth reading.
Good Christian men rejoice; Reading 2 ‘Joseph and the shepherds’ Major Judith Payne. ‘It came upon a midnight clear’, Video clip ‘Who is He’. Carol ‘Silent Night’: Reading 3 For those seekers, Paul Scoulding. Carol ‘We three Kings’. Reading 4 ‘Baby crying‘ Territorial Envoy Tony McClure. Carol ‘Infant Holy’: Reading 5 ‘For this journey‘, Teresa Pennington. Carol ‘In the bleak midwinter’. Video clip ‘Adore’.
Benediction: ‘Let us go from this place proclaiming that we have seen the glory of God. Believing that there is a light that shines in the darkness which the darkness shall not overcome and may the love of the Creator, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of the Christ-child, be with you this Christmas, and evermore. Amen.
Yesterday was a rather special day of worship and we thank Major Ian F Payne for all the preparation and prayerful planning that helped us in our worship.
Thank you for visiting our website and we hope that by reading it all you will be blessed and filled with hope – for the Light has come. God bless you all.