Christmas Countdown

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Welcome to St Albans!  Can you believe its nearly Christmas.... only ten more sleeps!

It was good to start celebrating Christmas with our children and young people last week.  Our thanks to all who contributed and helped them prepare for a fun and thoughtful re-visit to the Christmas story.  The final song “It’s about the cross” was a powerful finale.  The original is by “The Ball Brothers”.  Find the song on YouTube, both the kids’ cartoon version (Go Fish) and an adult video clip.

“Its not just about the manger... the angels... the shepherds... the star... the wise men...

It’s not about the presents... the feeling... coming home... the snow...

It’s about the cross... my sin... the stone...

It’s about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again...

So that you and I could have real life some day.”

And for us at St Albans, it’s also about our Christmas Appeal... about our response to God’s gift.... about giving generously to those who need our help because God has given generously to us.

This year we are supporting Beit Immanuel our sister church in Tel Aviv, a Messianic Jewish Congregation which believes in Jesus as their Messiah and seeks to share and live the gospel with their fellow Jews in Israel.  They help many poor families who are recent immigrants.  We are also supporting The Hope Project which seeks to use the 2014 Bicentenary of the Gospel being first preached in NZ as an opportunity to put three Gospel booklets into every NZ home.  Please return your gift to St Albans in the Appeal Envelope.

And next Sunday will be our farewell to Jeff & Alicia, Eleonora & Miles.  Jeff will speak at the Christmas Eve service and on Sunday 29th but effectively finishes at the end of December and will take his holidays in January.  He will make a trip to Kenya in the first two weeks of January to make the visit he wanted to following his grandmother’s death earlier in the year.  If you would like to donate some money towards a farewell gift for them, please put it in a labelled envelope and return to the church office, letterbox or Sunday offering.  Lets remember them as they make plans for their post-Christmas journeys.

Music can help us get into the spirit of Christmas and I like listening to modern versions of the old Christmas songs.  Search YouTube for two excellent new versions of ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ by Pentatonix and ‘O come, O come Immanuel’ by The Piano Guys.  There are no hymns which better express the grand sweep of God’s redemption than those we sing at this time of year.  Chuck Colson has two excellent talks on the Theology of Christmas Carols at Breakpoint.org and click on the graphic “Get into the spirit with moving music”.

Do whatever you can to connect with the real Christmas as we count down these final ten days.  May you be moved again, and thankful, for the relentless love of God who “pitched his tent among us” in the baby of Bethlehem.  Pitching his tent among us seems a very appropriate image for a Kiwi Christmas!

Shalom,