Janet`s December 2018 letter to the Community

Dear Friends

It’s nearly Christmas!  There are lots of different forms of Christmas celebration in church.  This year our St Paul’s programme includes a Carol Service held at St John’s Seven Kings on 16th December; a Nativity Play as part of our All Age Eucharist on 23rd December; a Children’s Service at 4p.m. on Christmas Eve; later on Christmas Eve, Midnight Mass, starting at 11p.m.; and our Christmas Day Service at 10.30a.m.  We will also be taking part in Christmas celebrations at Goodmayes Hospital and Rowallan House Care Home. 

And, in the 50th anniversary year of Christingles being introduced to the Church of England by the Children’s Society, we will be holding a Christingle Service combined with Messy Church on Sunday 9th December 4-6.30p.m.

A Christingle is essentially a visual aid, with each element demonstrating an aspect of God’s love for the world.  It begins with an orange, representing the earth that God has given to all of us to enjoy and to cherish.  Then there is a red ribbon wrapped around the circumference of the orange, reminding us of God’s love in sending Jesus to come amongst us as a baby, and to live and die for our salvation. Just as the ribbon runs right round the orange, so does God’s love encompass the whole world.  No-one is excluded.  The dried fruit and sweets stand for the fruit of the earth, and God’s goodness to us in creation.  They are held in place by four cocktail sticks, representing the four seasons, as well as the four corners of the earth.  And finally the candle reminds us of Jesus, the light of the world, who brings hope to people living in darkness.

It is a beautiful image, reminding us of the wonderful truth of God’s love and his coming amongst us to share in human frailty.  At this service we take up a collection for the work of the Children’s Society, which works to support vulnerable children across the UK so that “no child should feel alone”.  As many of us look forward to celebrating with our families and friends, this is a good opportunity to remember those suffering multiple disadvantage, and to offer them support. 

And this is my opportunity to wish you a blessed Christmas and New Year, and to invite you to come and join us in our celebrations!

With every blessing,   Janet

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