“Christmas may look different, but the story is still the same!”
Coronavirus will make our celebrations this year look very different from usual. However, the message of the baby born in Bethlehem is still the most life-giving, good news imaginable!
In one nativity play, the highlight was to illuminate Jesus, with a light in the manger, when all the other lights were turned off. At the appropriate time, all the lights went out, including the manger one. The silence was broken when one of the shepherds loudly whispered: “Hey, you turned off Jesus.”
Of course, nobody can turn off Jesus this Christmas!
The angels announced, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord”’ (Luke 2: 10,11). The birth of this baby brings great joy and good news for everyone! As the king of the universe, He has come as our Saviour. In an uncertain world, He offers joy and hope, because He holds this pandemic in His hands. This is a real cause for joy!
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests.” (Luke 2:14). We may feel anything but peace amid the anxieties over our current circumstances. How can a Jewish infant born to a peasant family in first century Palestine bring peace to our lives today? But Jesus established peace with God through His death on the cross. Trusting the Prince of Peace for our lives brings God’s peace amid the huge uncertainties we face.
As the carol says, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King.”
Attached below you will find a handy printable list of our key Christmas services and events.
You will also find the teaching programme of readings and collects we’ll be following through to the end of February.
Yours with much love in Christ,
Rev Jonathan Widdess
email@example.com / 01865 863702
Here is this weeks news….
Holy Communion – 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 6th December at 10:30am for a service of Holy Communion. Jonathan is leading and Eve Lockett preaching.
To join in with the service online, visit https://cumnor.org/sunday-service-online-6th-december-2020/ or by phone on 01865 920993, and then choose option 1 from the menu.
We will stream it live at 10:30am and the service will then remain available via our website. As we will be livestreaming the phone line will not be updated until lunchtime on Sunday and it will remain available by telephone until the following Friday.
Taizé Service for December
Our Taizé team have released their online service for December. With readings, prayers and meditative sung worship. https://cumnor.org/taize-service-online-december-6th-2020/
Sarah is now back at work in the Parish Office after Phil’s death. She says, “Thank you so much to everyone who sent cards and messages of support at this difficult time. Thank you too, to Amanda for doing such an amazing job while I was away.”
Unwrapping the Gift of Christmas
From Tuesday December 1st, each day in Advent we will release an online video 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. It’s the perfect way to care for your soul by pausing to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
Each day’s 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
Foodbanks have been in greater demand than ever this year so we’re asking everyone to help meet the need and taking inspiration from the idea of a reverse Advent Calendar where instead of getting chocolate, gin or cheese we give to help others.
From 3rd-10th December there will be a collection box outside the Vicarage and also 66, Pinnocks Way. Please give what you can to support the Oxford Emergency Foodbank. They especially need:
- Jams/other spreads
- Tins Vegetables (not tomatoes or pulses)
- Tins, Pkt Puddings
- Tins Meat
- Tins Fruit
- Bottled Sauces
- Coffee/Hot Chocolate
- Practical Toiletries
Worship for Seniors – Difficult Journeys
The second in our new, monthly series for seniors and those in care homes is now available. You can watch online at https://cumnor.org/worship-for-seniors/ or listen by telephone on 01865 920993 and then choose option 3 from the menu.
Worship for Seniors is a short devotional programme, with a hymn from our church choir, a short talk and a prayer. It lasts about 15 minutes.
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/
Churchyard Christmas Decorations
Given that our Christmas Services in church this year will have very limited capacity we have decided to put the Christmas Tree up in the churchyard as a sign of Christian light and hope in these dark days. We will also be putting up a new illuminated nativity scene. Look out for these over the next week or so.
With Jenny Joynson also putting up lights for charity in the usual churchyard tree, things should look especially festive this year!
Family Messy Advent Bags
Thanks to those who put together and were there as families click and collected their Messy Advent bags. In all, 38 bags have been collected which is really wonderful!
Advent Angels of Comfort and Joy
This year we looked to the rainbow to find hope. Now let’s fill our windows with Angels proclaiming the Christmas tidings of Comfort and Joy!
To take part, put the attached angel up in a window where passers-by will be able to see it.
Why not also decorate your window with cut-out snowflakes or nativity pictures to make it feel even more Christmassy?
The choir are planning to meet again and record the music for our Christmas services on Friday December 11th at 6:30pm. The emphasis this year will be on well-known carols as we look to share the good news of Comfort and Joy this Christmas. To help us decide which carols to pick, I was wondering what your favourite carols are? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to join us for the socially distanced recording session then please let Andrew Dyer (email@example.com) know.
Thank you to all those who returned their boxes last month. Together we raised £536.54. We are no longer supporting the Children’s Society through the Collection Box Scheme, however, individuals can donate via the website childrenssociety.org.uk or by supporting the Christingle Service at St Michael’s Church.
Many thanks for all your support in the past.
Joy Topping (07977 521530)
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.
Faith and Art
The fifth in David Lockett’s excellent series on Faith and Art is available at https://cumnor.org/david-lockett-on-the-white-crucifixion-by-mark-chagall/. This time he’s exploring “The White Crucifixion” by Marc Chagall.
The others in the series are well worth checking out if you haven’t seen them yet. Find them at: https://cumnor.org/faith-and-art/
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.
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 at https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/1129917-0, 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 those who are continuing to struggling with the effects of lockdown.
- All those who are ill or growing frailer.
- The government, and our local councils as they wrestle with keeping us all safe during the pandemic.
- Those who are homeless or struggling with food poverty.