Over summer we have been blessed with sermons on the theme of rest. It could not have come at a better time for us here at BAC. I pray that your summer has indeed been restful.
Over the next few months we will be embedded in the book of Nehemiah, a period in Israel’s history of seeking for restoration in a time of tragedy. I’m reminded from Nehemiah 4 that as the builders were rebuilding they did so with building materials in one hand, but a sword in the other. This speaks volumes of how we as a church ought to be longing for God’s promises to be fulfilled, but will need to do so with our spiritual sword in hand.
The sword of the Spirit, which Ephesians 6 tells us is the word of God, is our weapon. Yes, we are seeking rest and restoration, but we do so by meditating on God’s Word, being ready to give an answer for the hope we have. And like Nehemiah, we ought to pray for God’s promises to come to fruition.
So friends, would you pray passionately for –
- Our four church congregations, that we grow strong together in the grace of the Lord Jesus.
- Our vicar Wayne, that as he returns he too will be continually restored to full health daily.
- Our friends, family and work colleagues, that we will be prayerful and courageous to unashamedly speak the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ with them in love and faith.
For the kingdom,
Welcome to Berwick Anglican Church as we celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ! Christmas is one of the key moments in history, when God took on flesh and came to the world he created, and began his work to rescue humanity from our sin and death and evil.
Thank you for joining us today as together we remember the Christmas story, sing carols, learn from God’s Word, and celebrate Jesus’ love for us.
If you would like to know more about Jesus and his gift of eternal life, you would be most welcome to join us at our regular Berwick Anglican Church services; 8:30am, 10:15am or 5pm on Sundays, and 10am on Thursdays.
Rev. Ben Soderlund
The traditional Anglican prayer for the lead up to Christmas:
ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came among us in great humility; that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen.
It’s one week and one day to Christmas Day. So it’s got me thinking about presents. There are four things that make the best Christmas presents:
- The best presents are a great surprise Don’t you just love surprises! At the first Christmas, God really surprised people when he gave the gift of his Son Jesus to be God’s king and to bring people to be friends with God. God surprised Mary. He certainly surprised Joseph! And he surprised the shepherds and especially king Herod.
- The best presents come free! You don’t need to work for them. But you do have to do something with them? The first Christmas, God gave Jesus to the world completely for free. No-one has to earn being friends with Jesus. But we need to do something with God’s gift of Jesus. We have to follow and trust him.
- The best presents are those you want to share with others.
One Christmas I got a skateboard. It was great! Part of the fun was to share it with friends in the street. When God gave the world the gift of Jesus, he never intended for us to keep Jesus all to ourselves. He wants us to share his amazing gift with other people.
- The best presents are given by those who love us a lot. The presents we get from family members are often special, because we know how much they love us. God’s gift of Jesus tells us that he loves the world and wants all people to be friends with God through trusting Jesus.
Have a joyous Christmas as we remember God’s amazing gift of Jesus!
Rev’d Jason Hobba – 5pm Congregation Member
I went to Fountain Gate the other day. It was busy! Every car park was taken, the lines at all the lunch places were three or four deep and the shops were full of people making preparations to celebrate the incarnation of Christ. Or maybe not! But at the very least the shops were certainly full of people being very busy!
Amongst all the bland northern-hemisphere themed decorations at Fountain Gate, each year they also display a nativity scene that gets wheeled out of storage for Christmas. It moves around a bit, some years I’ve spotted it near the cinema escalator, other years its upstairs near the market, and this year I think its upstairs in the corridor near Lowes. So at least one small part of Fountain Gate is celebrating Jesus’ birth!
But each year when I see this nativity scene, I’m always a bit stunned by it because it looks so out of place. It’s strange to see this largely ignored little nativity display celebrating the birth of Christ against the background all the ‘Christmas’ rush of Fountain Gate in December.
As we get closer to Christmas… don’t be like Fountain Gate, 99% focused on busyness, and 1% focused on Christ! If you are starting to feel a little stressed at the amount of things you need to do before Christmas Day, the way to a more peaceful Christmas is to simply focus more on Christ. The amount of stuff you have to do will still stay the same, but the peace and rest of God will enter into your Christmas preparations. And the best way to focus more on Christ is simply to send time with him each day through prayer and through reading the bible.
Rev. Ben Soderlund