Click on image for audio
Happy New Year to you all, during Advent and Christmas it has been nice to celebrate together in person. However, we know that we still have to be cautious in regards to COVID and you will find if you attend a church service we have brought back mask wearing for quite some weeks now, and we have now brought back social distancing. When you attend a service you will be asked to sit separately from others unless you are part of a family bubble. We are still offering refreshments again, if you could social distance around the hatch and when you are chatting with others after the service. Unfortunately the virus is still very much with us and we want to do our very best to keep everyone safe. If you are able to do a test before attending a service this is another way of minimising the risk of spreading the infection. Thank you for all your support in this matter.
With all of this said, welcome to January’s reflection; the first one of 2022. During Advent and Christmas we focused on making room for Jesus. We were reminded that Jesus is Emmanuel meaning “God with us” The Messiah. The Saviour of the World.
In January we will be taking a closer at Jesus as he announces that he is the Messiah in his home town of Nazareth. At the Synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus reads from The Prophet Isaiah 61: 1 – 2a, and then Jesus announces that this scripture is fulfilled in their hearing. Jesus is telling his own people from the town he grew up in that he is the Messiah. During January we will follow the growth of Jesus’ ministry and to whom he proclaims his message. Not everyone is happy with this message. Even his own people he grew up with drove him out of town and tried to throw him off a cliff! We will also follow the shock of a fisherman and his friends after a miraculous catch of fish, to then be called as one of Jesus’ disciples. In the words of Simon, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” And yet Jesus still calls Simon (Peter) saying to him, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” We finish the month of January with the Beatitude’s as Jesus brings a bombshell to those who are listening to his teaching. What Jesus brings is revolutionary because Jesus takes what the world understands as acceptable and turns it on its head as he describes the Kingdom of God. The people Jesus called blessed, the world would call wretched. Jesus the Messiah challenged the people of his day. Are we ready to be challenged by Jesus? I pray that God will bless you throughout this month of January as we take a deeper look into the message of Jesus as he brings good news to the poor.
Our Bible Readings for January are as follows: Luke 4: 14 – 21, Luke 4: 21 – 30, Luke 5: 1 – 11, Luke 6: 20 – 26.
God Bless, Ellie
Click on image for audio
Firstly I would like to start this reflection by wishing you all a very Happy Christmas. I hope that you will have a wonderful time celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Christmas is a lot different and a lot busier than last year, so here are some dates for your diary for December. On 11th from 5pm we will be having a Christmas meal. If you haven’t already got your name down please see Sheila. On 12th we have a Parade service which will be all-age, and if you love to sing Christmas carols our Carols service is on 15th starting at 6.30pm followed by refreshments. On Sunday 19th we have a special wear a Christmas jumper to church service. This is to raise money for the Padley Centre. If you don’t have a Christmas jumper why don’t you wear something in a festive colour. And finally we have our Christmas Day service starting at 10.30am. Please note as Christmas Day falls on a Saturday this year there will be no service on 26th December.
The countdown has truly started for Christmas. People are planning parties, Christmas dinners, Christmas services, visits to family and friends, shopping and decorating, the list goes on, all ready for the big day, all at the same time. Keep an eye on the latest covid restrictions. But what is this all about? Why do we celebrate Christmas? What was it like on that first Christmas? These are very important questions to ask?
It is important in the centre of all our celebrations to grasp the reality of that first Christmas to help us understand why we celebrate Christmas. What I mean by this reality, is the messiness and darkness of the world into which Jesus was born; a broken and fallen world, as we can see from the prophet Isaiah as he foretells the birth of the Messiah who entered the darkness as a great light bringing peace to earth.
Isaiah 9: 2, 6 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned….. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called wonderful, counsellor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Throughout the Christmas story there is a real contrast between the dark and light; but the light always prevails. The darkness of the broken and fallen world to the light of the announcement of the angels, the light of the star the wise men followed, and most importantly the light Jesus brings into the world. The gospel of John shares with us this revelation of who Jesus is. John begins his gospel with these words:
John 1: 1 – 5, “In the beginning was the word (Jesus), and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
I hope during this time of Advent and Christmas you will find time to take in the contrast between the dark and light and the difference that Jesus, the light of the world, can bring into your life, not just for Christmas but for eternity.
God Bless, Ellie
Click on image for audio
I would like to begin this monthly reflection for November by saying thank you for all of your messages, cards and prayers after the passing of my Dad; we do appreciate all of your thoughts ad prayers. As you will see, the weekly reflections have now become monthly. This is mainly because of the process of coming out of lockdown over the past few months, firstly we are now able to see a lot more people face to face and of course things have now become a lot busier so I no longer have the time to send out a weekly reflection. If you would like me to visit you at home please contact me and I will arrange a visit with you.
The monthly reflection will be based around what is coming up during each month. As we enter into November, many of you may have noticed around Littleover that there are large poppies attached to some lampposts, these remind us that Remembrance Sunday is not far away. In fact it is on the Sunday 14th November which will be a parade service for us starting at 10.30am. During this service the Brownies and Guides will be sharing with us why we use the poppy to remember all who have fallen in war.
During the service on the last Sunday in November on the 28th we will be beginning a series for Advent called Making Room for Jesus. In the first week of Advent we will be looking at thankfulness and Jesus. We will be reflecting on the reading from Luke 17: 11 – 19 where Jesus heals ten men with leprosy. If you do not normally buy an advent calendar, maybe this year could be different, why don’t you buy one? Then each day when you open a door you could just take a moment and reflect on one thing that you can thank God for. When we come into December we will be continuing the series of making room for Jesus and in Decembers reflection I will bring more details about this.
December is always a busy month and on Wednesday 15th December we will be having our Christmas Carol Service in the church (unlike last year) starting at 6.30pm and on Christmas Day our service will begin at 10.30am. Please note there will be no service on Sunday 26th December. We would like to provide a Christmas meal this year but are unsure how many people would like to attend this. So if you would like a Christmas meal could you please let myself or one of the Deacons know. If this does go, ahead it will be on Saturday 11th December at 5.30pm, a list will be going out in the church for you to add your name to.
If you do have access to our website littleoverbaptists.org a monthly recording will be going out with more details about what we will be looking at each month during our Sunday services. So until next month, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.
God Bless, Ellie