The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for the world. Sadly the secular world has focused on the commercial, profit-making aspect and thereby have largely missed the point. “Unto you is born in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord”.
However, churches all over the North-east are drawing people’s attention to the key message of a Saviour coming into the world. “Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth; Hark, the herald angels sing.
At our weekly communion service Nathan spoke on the subject of the Virgin Birth, and the fact that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. As I write, we are looking forward to our church Christmas party. We lit the final advent candle - symbols of Christ bringinglight, love hope and joy into the world.
At our 11 am service we looked at the account of the birth of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 2. And of course our Christmas Eve carol service - it starts at 6.30 pm in St Bridget’s and you are all invited!
News from St James’
Sunday marked the beginning of a week full of Christmas festivities for members of St James – and our many visitors.
The 10.30 Eucharist was conducted by the Rector, Rev Maggie Jackson, who also delivered the address. The Gospel reading (Luke 1. 26-38) described the visit of the Angel Gabriel to Mary when he announced that she was to become the mother of Christ. Here we read that Mary accepts Gabriel’s announcement that she will bear Jesus, but before that she believes that God noticed her, that God favours her, that God has blessed and has great plans for her. Maggie went on to show that we are similarly called to believe that God notices, favours and blesses us. And once we believe that, we can do incredible things.
But people have a hard time believing that God favours them. Even that God notices them –not just on Sunday – most of us can believe God is watching us on Sundays if only to see whether we will make it to church. But for the rest of the week – well there are such mundane things – work, housework, going to school – hardly worth God’s notice. Yet in the gospel we hear of God noticing and blessing someone who is a nobody in the ancient world. And when this nobody-young-girl believes God’s blessing and accepts God’s favour – the world begins to turn.
So this week, Maggie reminded us, just take time to imagine that whatever we are doing, God is noticing us and blessing us so that we might be a blessing to the world.
At 4 o’clock we held our annual festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. This follows a set of readings from both Old and New Testaments that tell the story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah and the birth of Jesus. The carols are traditional and well-known and begin with ‘Once in Royal David’s City’. A member of our congregation who attended the Advent Course, when we looked at (and sang) several of the traditional carols, was pleased that she now had ‘inside information’ about some of the carols.
By the time you read this, our Midnight Service will have taken place, when we celebrate the first Eucharist of Christmas, the fifth Advent Candle, representing the Christ-child, will have been lit – and the infant Jesus will be seen in his crib in the Bethlehem nativity scene. There will also be a Christmas Eucharist on Christmas Day, at 9.30 – to which all are welcome.
Stonehaven South linked with Dunnottar
Reverend Rosslyn Duncan welcomed all to worship on the fourth Sunday in Advent.
With the candles representing ‘Peace’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Joy’ having been lit on previous weeks, on this Sunday it was the candle representing ‘Love’ that was lit by Rosslyn. With readings, prayers and a beautiful anthem called ‘O Little One Sweet’ sung by the choir, everyone was now ready for the Kids’ Praise nativity, where the animals sheltering in a stable, would tell the wonderful story of the birth of baby Jesus.
To help set the scene, the Chancel area of the church had been transformed into a stable and with the help of a few ‘soft furry animals’, the congregation awaited the arrival of the other animals.
With Cameron McAlpine as the narrator and with the help of the owl (Lachlan McAlpine), sheep (Brodie McAlpine), the cockerel (Samuel Johnston) and the adorable cute little dog who was played by Martha Johnston, the children retold the story. The congregation were further delighted when Martha decided that her character required a few impromptu walks and, when she delivered those magical words ‘woof woof’. The story was further enhanced with beautiful songs sung by the children. Lachlan and Brodie sang a couple of duets with Lachlan and Brodie both giving outstanding solo performances. At the end of the nativity, Lachlan delighted the congregation by singing the first verse of ‘Away in a Manger’ with all the children joining in verses two and three.
Throughout the service, Lachlan also led two of the congregational hymns ‘Once in royal David’s City’ and ‘Silent Night’ unaccompanied, with the congregation and organ accompaniment for the remaining verses.
With beautiful voices and magical moments throughout, the children captivated the congregation and just when the congregation thought it was all over, Samuel and Martha added ‘A Magical Christmas Jingle’ by playing ‘Jingle Bells’ on a set of hand bells. With the last hymn being ‘Ding Dong! Merrily on high, this was indeed an uplifting and beautiful service enjoyed by everyone.
Following the service, there was an invitation for warm refreshments in the hall.
Dates for your diary -
The festive programme continues this week with a Christingle Service at Dunnottar Church on Christmas Eve at 6 p.m. At the South Church on Christmas Eve, Carols at 11 p.m. following by the ‘Watchnight Service’ at 11.30 pm.
On Christmas day, we will be celebrating the good news of Christ’s birth at South Church at 10am. Everyone is invited to bring along a favourite festive item of outer clothing, jewellery or head gear.
On Sunday, December 28, the service is at St. Bridget’s Hall at 10.30am.
A warm welcome is extended to everyone to come along and join us for these events.
The Kids Praise Nativity told the story of the birth of the baby Jesus.