Canvey Methodist Church Worship Services- Christmas Reflection Tuesday 22nd Dec

Canvey Island Methodist Church Tuesday 22nd December 2020

Christmas Reflections: Sacredness In Simplicity 

 

Introduction: https://youtu.be/lU2KrrwNfQs

 

Complete Link: https://youtu.be/96UfrwCrAGg



 

Welcome : Welcome to Christmas Reflections from Canvey Island Methodist Church on Tuesday  22nd December 2020

A reading from Luke1:5-25,57-64.

 

The Angelic Prophecy of the Prophet John’s Birth

5 During the reign of King Herod the Great over Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah[f] who served in the temple as part of the priestly order of Abijah.[g] His wife, Elizabeth, was also from a family of priests, being a direct descendant of Aaron. 6 They were both lovers of God, living virtuously and following the commandments of the Lord fully. 7 But they were childless since Elizabeth was barren, and now they both were quite old.

8–9 One day, while Zechariah’s priestly order was on duty and he was serving as priest, it happened by the casting of lots (according to the custom of the priesthood) that the honour fell upon Zechariah to enter into the Holy Place[h]and burn incense before the Lord. 10 A large crowd of worshipers had gathered to pray outside the temple at the hour when incense was being offered. 11 All at once an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing just to the right of the altar of incense.[i]

12 Zechariah was startled and overwhelmed with fear. 13 But the angel reassured him, saying, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God is showing grace to you.[j] For I have come to tell you that your prayer[k] for a child has been answered. Your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son and you are to name him John. 14 His birth will bring you much joy and gladness. Many will rejoice because of him. 15 He will be one of the great ones in the sight of God. He will drink no wine or strong drink,[l] but he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even while still in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will persuade many in Israel to convert and turn back to the Lord their God. 17 He will go before the Lord as a forerunner, with the same power and anointing[m] as Elijah the prophet. He will be instrumental in turning the hearts of the fathers in tenderness back to their children and the hearts of the disobedient back to the wisdom of their righteous fathers. And he will prepare a united people[n] who are ready for the Lord’s appearing.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is too old to give me a child. What sign can you give me to prove this will happen?”

19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel.[o] I stand beside God himself. He has sent me to announce to you this good news. 20 But now, since you did not believe my words, you will be stricken silent and unable to speak[p] until the day my words have been fulfilled at their appointed time and a child is born to you. That will be your sign!”[q]

21 Meanwhile, the crowds outside kept expecting him to come out. They were amazed over Zechariah’s delay,[r] wondering what could have happened inside the sanctuary. 22 When he finally did come out, he tried to talk, but he couldn’t speak a word, and they realized from his gestures that he had seen a vision while in the Holy Place. 23 He remained mute as he finished his days of priestly ministry in the temple and then went back to his own home. 24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for the next five months. 25 She said with joy, “See how kind it is of God to gaze upon me[s] and take away the disgrace of my barrenness!”

Angelic Prophecy of Jesus’ Birth

The Birth of the Prophet John

57 When Elizabeth’s pregnancy was full term, she gave birth to a son. 58 All her family, friends, and neighbours heard about it, and they too were overjoyed, for they realized that the Lord had showered such wonderful mercy upon her.

59 When the baby was eight days old, according to their custom, all the family and friends came together for the circumcision ceremony.[an] Everyone was convinced that the parents would name the baby Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth spoke up and said, “No, he has to be named John!”

61 “What?” they exclaimed. “No one in your family line has that name!”

62 So they gestured to the baby’s father to ask what to name the child. 63 After motioning for a writing tablet, in amazement of all, he wrote, “His name is John.”[ao]

64 Instantly Zechariah could speak again. And his first words were praises to the Lord.

 

Comment: 

Christmas, as we have come to know it, during my lifetime in the United Kingdom has become increasingly complex. The to do list for us has grown enormously:

 

-Subtly asking our friends and relatives what present they might like for Christmas

-Purchasing presents requested and taking a stab at present buying for those who have no idea what they want.

-Deciding who we want to share Christmas with 

-Asking them to come or accepting invitations

-Placating those who we are not visiting this year

-Planning for food and refreshments

-Attending Christmas parties at work or with friends.

-Choosing and purchasing what to wear at said parties

-Buying Christmas Decorations, the Christmas Tree and lights

- Putting life and limb in danger installing decorations and lights


 

And this year we have had the hokey Koki Covid regulations to juggle. Visits are in. Visits are out. We can meet other household  bubbles. Now we can't.

 

It all can get very stressful.

 

What a marked contrast this modern take on Christmas in comparison to the circumstances and events of the first.

 

No decorations, no parties, no expensive hotels, and .......just three presents. (but more of those in 3 days time!

But what there was in abundance was God's love and planning in the lives of everyday regular people. A blessing and a miracle for Zechariah and Elizabeth and Angelic activity popping up everywhere.

 

Could this Covid Christmas be an opportunity for us to discover the sacredness that there is to be found in simplicity

Before Street Lighting the path ahead was illuminated by the Moon and the stars, Before digital technology, Music and Audio Visual Systems and Streaming services there were family parlor games and Carols around the piano. These two lockdown period have prompted many to search for God once again. The good news is that there is always a star to follow to help seekers to find Him. God promises that when a person truly seeks for him, he is there to be found. Dreams can be realized when we push on the door of faith .

Here are Pam Rhodes and then Dr Misha Jazz to aid us in our reflections.

 

Prayer

 

Help us Lord God to respond to your promptings , to leave the stresses and fears of this Christmas activity and pandemic pressures at the foot of Christ's cross and to discover that Christmas has most definitely not been cancelled but is here for all of us to discover and to celebrate. Christ Came Down at Christmas Into a dark work to bring life, peace and hope- The Winter darkness was and is rent from top to bottom by His presence and glory.

In Christ's Name We Pray.

Amen