Christmas is normally a busy time for travel, and usually many of us venture great distances to see family or friends again. But coronavirus has put an end to all that this year. Seeing all our loved ones this Christmas will be difficult, if not impossible. And for several more months, we will not be travelling anywhere very much at all.
Have you noticed that the Christmas story is about journeys? It begins with Mary and Joseph travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Then, some shepherds receive news from an angel about a special birth. They travel through the night, across dark fields and down unlit streets to search for the baby Jesus.
Around the same time, in an eastern country some wise men see a new star, one they understand to herald the birth of a new king. They leave home and with only the star to guide them, and their faith to reassure them, they search for the special baby that’s waiting at the end of their journey.
All these travellers must have wondered what lay ahead. Nothing was fully understood, carefully planned for, or particularly safe. They all travelled with questions and uncertainties. But God had come unexpectedly into their lives, rewritten their stories, and so suddenly they were caught up in His plan of redemption. Despite worldly circumstances that could have crushed them, they stood firm and trusted God all the way.
These travellers’ tales tell us that it is like God to suddenly enter into our familiar, or this year, unfamiliar circumstances. He may very well come to us in surprising ways, and prompt us into new avenues of service.
At first His call may be uncomfortable and challenging, but if our response is anything like Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and wise men – who were obedient to His call in serving, witnessing and worshipping, we shall be greatly blessed and rewarded.
We are all on the journey of life. If we travel with God, He will be faithful and lead us Home.
Yours with much love in Christ,
Rev Jonathan Widdess
firstname.lastname@example.org / 01865 863702
Here is this weeks news….
Christingle, Christmas Eve, 4pm
On Christmas Day at 10am there is a Communion service in St Andrew’s, Dean Court.
At 10:30am there is also a Communion Service in St Michael’s.
There will be no worship service in the Parish on 27th December, and no online service either. Instead, we’re encouraging everyone to join the Diocesan Service on Church at Home. (https://www.oxford.anglican.org/coronavirus-covid-19-2/livestream/)
On January 3rd in St Michael’s we celebrate Epiphany with a service of Holy Communion at 10:30am. David Wenham is leading, and Jean Pryce-Williams preaching. The service will be livestreamed via our website. (https://cumnor.org/sunday-service-online-3rd-january-2021/)
On January 10th in St Michael’s we are holding a service of Morning Worship at 10:30am with Jessica Turner leading and Helen Azer preaching. The service will be livestreamed via our website. (https://cumnor.org/sunday-service-online-10th-january-2021/)
Taizé Service for January
January’s Taizé service will be available on January 1st. Why not give it a try for a peaceful and reflective start to the New Year?
It will be available at https://cumnor.org/taize-service-for-january-2021/ or via the main Taizé page on the website, where you can also find the previous onlineservices.
Contacting the Parish over Christmas
The Parish Office reopens on January 4th and Jonathan is on leave until January 11th. Please contact the Churchwarden’s, Malcolm (01865 862165) or Chris (01865 864397) if you require urgent assistance.
Changes to Parish Office Opening Hours
From Monday January 4th, the Parish Office will be opening from 9am-1pm on Monday to Thursday.
This year’s Carol Service is still available online at https://cumnor.org/carol-service/.
Community Carol Singing
The carol singing around the tree was well attended with a lovely, festive atmosphere. Thanks to everyone who helped make it such a special occasion.
The Darkest Night
A Christmas Service for the recently bereaved and those who find this time of year difficult. It’s available now at https://cumnor.org/darkest-night/
Unwrapping the Gift of Christmas
We’re almost at the end of 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. Why not join us for the last few days?
Each video will be available at https://cumnor.org/unwrapping-christmas/
Zoom Weekly Prayer Meeting
Our weekly prayer meeting is taking a Christmas break and resumes on January 11th.
Please Continue To Pray For…
- Our Christmas services and outreach events
- Those who are finding Christmas particularly difficult this year.
- Our CMS mission partner Bia.
- The St Andrew’s Rebuilding Project.
- Jonathan and the family as he has some much needed time off.
- Those in our community who have recently tested positive for Covid or who are self-isolating.
- All those who are anxious for their jobs or their future.
- All who’ve been bereaved this year
- All those who are continuing to struggle with the effects of lockdown.
- Those who are homeless or struggling with food poverty.