“And behold, you shall conceive in your womb and bring forth a son and call His name JESUS…” (Luke 1:31)
This past week, on 8th December, Roman Catholics celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. While we do not venerate Mary in the same way, we can still learn so much from her.
Trust can only be built on an intimate relationship and strong communication over time. Mary therefore must have had a relationship with God for years prior to the visit by the angel Gabriel. She would have known the Jewish scriptures of the coming Messiah, and this enabled her to recognise God’s will in the voice of the angel. (Luke 1:26-38) She trusted Him because she already knew Him.
Willingness to obey
She was willing to surrender to God’s will, without even asking why He had chosen her. “Let it be to me according to your Word.” (Luke 1:34) Her asking ‘how’ only reflected her willingness to obey Him. “How will this be,” Mary said, “since I am a virgin.” (Luke 1:34)
It’s one thing to say we believe God, but far harder to go and tell somebody about Him. Yet Mary did just that: “At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth” (Luke 1:39-40). And her cousin saluted her faith: “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished”. (Luke 1:45)
Finally, Mary worshipped, her poetic song full of love and reverence for God: “My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my saviour…” (Luke 1:46)
This Christmas, as we remember Mary, I want to ask a question. What has God conceived in us through this year?
The Bible is clear that Jesus wants to implant His Holy Spirit into each one of us, so that we may live our lives in His presence, grow to become more like Him, and fulfil His particular will for our lives. Like Mary, our prayer can also be: “Let it be to me according to your Word” (Luke 1:34)
Yours with much love in Christ,
Rev Jonathan Widdess
firstname.lastname@example.org / 01865 863702
Here is this weeks news….
Morning Worship – Sunday at 10:30am in St Michael’s or watch the live-stream
It will be a real joy to be able to gather again in St Michael’s this Sunday 13th December at 10:30am for a service of Morning Worship. Eve is leading and Chris Scruby preaching.
To join in with the service online, visit https://cumnor.org/sunday-service-online-13th-december-2020/ or by phone on 01865 920993, and then choose option 1 from the menu.
We will stream live at 10:30am and the service will then remain available via our website (there may be a short delay while the livestream is made available as a recording).
Due to live-streaming the phone line will not be updated until lunchtime on Sunday and it will remain available by telephone until the following Sunday.
Unwrapping the Gift of Christmas
Our Advent series of online videos in which we reflect on the stories of the Bible that lead up to Jesus’s birth and hang a special ornament on a Jesse Tree in St Michael’s continues each day till Christmas. It’s the perfect way to care for your soul by pausing to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
Each video will be available at https://cumnor.org/unwrapping-christmas/
A short introduction from Jonathan is available at the same page.
This series is also available by phone on 01865 920993 and then choosing option 2 from the menu.
Advent Foodbank Donations
Thank you so much to everyone who donated food or other goods to the collection boxes for the Emergency Foodbank. We had an amazing amount of food given over the week which will make a real difference to needy people in our area!
Every year around Christmas, Eve invites us all into her home to visit her “Wayside Nativity”. This year, due to the pandemic, things are having to be different, however, she has made a Wayside Nativity video and shared it online through the parish website. It’s a fascinating and rewarding insight into what is a very special tradition. https://cumnor.org/wayside-nativity/
Community Carol Singing
Although we still can’t sing in church together, it is possible to sing outside. Therefore we are gathering around the Christmas tree in the churchyard on Sunday 20th December at 5pm for carol singing. Please observe social distancing and we look forward to seeing you there!
On Christmas Eve at 4pm in St Michael’s we are holding our traditional Christingle service. Capacity is limited, and tickets must be booked in advance by visiting https://cumnor.org/christingle or phoning 01865 861541
We will be streaming the service live through our website https://cumnor.org/christingle/and are providing free “Build Your Own Christingle” kits (oranges not included). These will be available from 11am-12pm on Monday 21st-Wednesday 23rd December from the Parish Centre (first on the left up the Vicarage drive which is opposite the church steps).
Christmas Day Services
On Christmas Day at 10am there is a Communion service in St Andrew’s, Dean Court.
At 10:30am there is a Communion Service in St Michael’s. Capacity is limited, and tickets must be booked in advance by visiting https://cumnor.org/christingle or phoning 01865 861541. We will be streaming this service live through our website.
Carols on your Doorstep
Radio Oxford is joining local radio stations all over the country in broadcasting carols on Wed 16th at 6pm. The idea is that you tune in and sing along on your doorstep – maintaining the usual social distancing, etc. See BBC Radio Oxford – BBC Radio Oxford Special, Carols On Your Doorstep (16/12/2020)
You can download a song sheet from there, and also sheet music for different instruments (including ukuleles) at http://doorstepcarols.co.uk
Faith Place on Radio Oxford
Jonathan will be interviewed by Headley Feast for Faith Place on Breakfast on Radio Oxford at 7:40am on Sunday 13th December.
Zoom Weekly Prayer Meeting
Our weekly prayer meeting continues every Monday at 10:30am. Join us as we gather together online to pray for one another, our families, friends and neighbours, our parish, our nation and the world.
For more details on how to connect, see this web page.
If you’re doing your Christmas shopping online this year then using easyfundraising can really help the parish out at no cost to you.
Over 4,300 shops and sites will donate to us for FREE when you use easyfundraising to shop with them. This means you can raise donations for us when you buy anything from decorations and festive food shopping to gifts like toys, jewellery, tech, experiences and more!
These donations really help us and all you have to do is use easyfundraising when you’re ordering the things you’ll be buying anyway. All you need to do is click this link: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/stmichaelscumnor/?utmcampaign=raise-more&utmmedium=email&utmcontent=rm-c20-e1
If you are planning on shopping through Amazon.co.uk then please help the church finances…
Malcolm, our Church Warden, wants to remind you all about Amazon Smile before you start ordering online for Christmas. The link below takes you straight to the Amazon smile site and one click from there registers us as your chosen charity.
Shop AmazonSmile , and Amazon donates to The Parochial Church Council Of The Ecclesiastical Parish Of St Michael’s, Cumnor, at no cost to you. To date we have received nearly £100 from Amazon.
Please Continue To Pray For…
- Those who have lost loved ones recently, and especially the family and friends of John Peel.
- Our CMS mission partner Bia.
- The St Andrew’s Rebuilding Project.
- Sarah as she returns to work.
- All those who are anxious for their jobs or their future.
- All who’ve been bereaved this year
- Our Christmas services and outreach events
- The “Darkest Night” online carol service
- All those who are continuing to struggle with the effects of lockdown.
- Those who are homeless or struggling with food poverty.
- Our country as the Brexit transition period comes to an end.