Advent Reader 2019

Advent Reader - 1st December
1st December 2019
Isaiah 9: 1-7
For to Us a Child Is Born

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
    and the staff for his shoulder,
    the rod of his oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.


Dawn banishes the dark

As we start this Advent season and the year draws to an end, we can all recount moments or even seasons of darkness in 2019. Darkness within yourself, for people close to you, dark fears for the future of the country, or even global scale issues. Darkness can be present in the form of loss, grief and fears, skulking in the shadows or covering over everything.

Darkness can seem suffocating, overwhelming, distorting, hopeless, and allconsuming. 

I love the picture of light dawning and bringing joy in verse 2. Sunrise happens slowly. Gradually, light fills the whole sky illuminating everything and changing the perspective. A new day begins. There is an end to dark times and there is hope. The passage goes on to describe the light as the gift of a Prince of Peace, coming to us as a child. The Message describes Him as ‘Prince of Wholeness’. Rather than feebly trying to defeat darkness ourselves, this reminds us that this ruler ushers in a beautiful new Kingdom of light and wholeness into even the darkest situation. It is not through our own merit or efforts, but only by our invitation, and His nature can’t do anything other than bring goodness and light into any situation.

As we see beautiful lights and candles this Christmas time, may we be reminded that ‘the true light has dawned’ and has, and will, overcome any darkness that may be trying to engulf us, or those around us.

David and Emma 


Advent Reader - 2nd December
2nd December 2019
Isaiah 11: 1-16
The Righteous Reign of the Branch

11 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
    and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
    and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
    and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

11 In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.

12 He will raise a signal for the nations
    and will assemble the banished of Israel,
and gather the dispersed of Judah
    from the four corners of the earth.
13 The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart,
    and those who harass Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah,
    and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
14 But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west,
    and together they shall plunder the people of the east.
They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab,
    and the Ammonites shall obey them.
15 And the Lord will utterly destroy
    the tongue of the Sea of Egypt,
and will wave his hand over the River
    with his scorching breath,
and strike it into seven channels,
    and he will lead people across in sandals.
16 And there will be a highway from Assyria
    for the remnant that remains of his people,
as there was for Israel
    when they came up from the land of Egypt.

There is Hope

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” (verse 1).

Just a withered tree stump. Robbed of its trunk and top. Chopped down and useless. The stump looks dead. No hope. Nothing has become of it for so long. Abandoned. Seemingly never to grow again.
But, a small shoot sprouts from the root of this dry stump. Because of its unsightliness and misery, the branch isn’t named after David but after his father.  It emphasises the humble nature of the Messiah. It is far humbler to say, “from Jesse” than to say, “from King David.”

If we are feeling like the dead stump, rejoice, for there is hope. We may feel chopped down. Everything of worth taken from us. Yet, in His time, a branch appears from the roots. And where there is a branch, no matter how weak or humble, there is the hope of future fruit. That future fruit depends on the Spirit of the Lord.

“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord.” (verse 2)

Jesus lived and ministered as a man. A man filled with the Spirit of the Lord. The wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the Lord Jesus displayed in His ministry didn’t flow from His “own” deity, but from His reliance on the Spirit of the Lord who filled Him. In the same way, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to nurture our tender branch and produce the life and fruit of God in us.


Pete and Sandra C


Advent Reader - 3rd December
3rd December 2019
Isaiah 42: 1-9
The Lord's Chosen Servant

42 Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
    he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
    or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
    he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
    till he has established justice in the earth;
    and the coastlands wait for his law.

Thus says God, the Lord,
    who created the heavens and stretched them out,
    who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
    and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
    I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
    a light for the nations,
    to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
    from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the Lord; that is my name;
    my glory I give to no other,
    nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
    and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
    I tell you of them.”


A New Gift

“All things are full of weariness…what has been is what will be…and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:8-9)

Solomon’s famous musings from Ecclesiastes teach us that nothing is ever new.  Everything runs in cycles.  The wind, the seasons, our actions, our sometimesquestionable Christmas gift ideas - everything in human history runs in a repetitious, often vicious circle.  

As we approach Christmas, we can look back at Solomon’s words and contrast them with what God says to us through Isaiah 42:1-9.  Through this lens, we are offered a clear view of how atypical - powerful - a gift God gives us in Jesus: 

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare.”  (Isaiah 42:9)

Solomon says nothing can be new, but God gives us something new in Jesus and it changes everything.  God explains to Isaiah that He gives us “a covenant for the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.”  This “covenant” is the same covenant under which we are redeemed; it is the same covenant by which we are no longer called “enemy”, but “sons and daughters”; rather than “sinner”, “pure”; rather than “imprisoned”, “free”; rather than “dead”, “alive.”

The gift of Jesus is unique in all of human history and we are blessed to receive it.  


Alex and Nicola 


Advent Reader - 4th December
4th December 2019
Luke 1: 5-25
Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

In the right place at the right time

This passage explains the circumstances around the lead up to John the Baptist’s birth.  John’s parents were Zechariah and Elizabeth.  Zechariah was a priest, part of the tribe of Levi.  It sounds grand but in actual fact there were so many priests that the tribe was divided into 24 divisions, and each division did their priestly duties for 2 weeks a year.  The rest of the time most of the priests had secular employment.  In verse 9 we see Zechariah is chosen by ‘lots’ to burn incense in the Lord’s presence at the Temple.  No priest was allowed the honour of doing this more than once in his life, and many never got the chance at all.  And so it was there and then, in that once in a lifetime moment for Zechariah, that God sent an angel to tell him how he and Elizabeth had been chosen to be part of God’s amazing salvation plan.  

What a coincidence….or not. Verse 6 tells us that Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes.  They were people who lived day-to-day following God, obeying His teachings.  They did this for the other 50 weeks of the year when Zechariah wasn’t at the Temple. Verse 8 describes how Zechariah was essentially ‘on duty’.  He was taking his turn, meeting his responsibilities.  In the right place at the right time, you could say.  Indeed, he was.  There are many people in the Bible who were ‘in the right place at the right time’.  People who lived faithfully, trusting God, being prepared for a job which He had planned for them. 

I hope this passage is an encouragement to us all to follow Jesus every day, in the ordinary responsibilities of life.  It is here that God will prepare us and use us as part of His wonderful story.



Advent Reader - 5th December
5th December 2019
Matthew 1: 18-25
The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[b] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

God in skin

Recently a 10-year-old hero saved his mother by staying with her while trapped having fallen in a deep Scottish mountain ravine. There in her pain and distress and he brings rescue by his actions. A timely but dangerous act - a saviour who came down to her side and rescued her. 

“She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name Him Jesus—‘God saves’—because He will save His people from their sins.”... “They will name Him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).” (Matthew 1:20-23 MSG)

This young son rescued his mother from likely physical death - 

JESUS, the Son ‘they will name Him – Immanuel.”
God in skin came on a rescue mission encapsulated in His name - God saves.

The gift of Christmas - God in flesh arriving on earth - when opened and accepted - means you can be saved - from what? - your sin - and reconciled with your Father and Creator. 

“Hail, th’ incarnate Deity: Pleased, as man, with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel!” (Charles Wesley)

WHAT A GIFT! Living in harmony with your creator and His creation. 

Are you rescued? If not maybe it’s time to unpack this gift from the God who loves you - Immanuel. 

Matt and Rose

Advent Reader - 6th December
6th December 2019
Luke 1: 26-38
Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.


The True Meaning of Christmas


These verses capture the true meaning of Christmas. They tell of the angel Gabriel being sent from God to the city of Nazareth, appearing to Mary, and telling her ‘thou art highly favoured’; she will give birth to a son and call him Jesus, the Son of God.

After the probable shock of the news of becoming a parent, Mary must have been filled with overwhelming joy, love and gratitude. Those who have experienced becoming a parent or grandparent, or have been chosen to be a Godparent, will have shared this experience. We all know the true gift from God that children are, a blessing like no other. 

On 25th December, we celebrate the birth of Jesus and it is a day where we focus on children. Sharing the fun and happiness of Christmas cheer and seeing children’s smiling faces is something that connects us all. So this Christmas let us say a special prayer for all the children of our own Church family, and around the world, that they will have a truly magical day; and they come to know the Lord God as their Father and the true meaning of Christmas!


Campbell and Alison


Advent Reader - 7th December
7th December 2019

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.


Light of the World, You stepped down into darkness


Pause for a minute as you read this verse. Soak it in. This is an astonishing proclamation to make almost 700 years before the actual birth of Christ. In just a few words we are given two pillars of the Christian faith:


  1. The birth of the Lord Jesus, not by a human father’s will but to a virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit.


  1. The child born would be God with us – Immanuel, the incarnation, which meant that God actually stepped into the world and was born as a vulnerable baby.


Prophecies like this remind us that God’s plan of reconciliation and redemption for human beings started long before the first Christmas and look far beyond it.  They also remind us that God often works in ways that are completely unexpected and revolutionary. 


When Jesus returns though, it won’t be as “God with us” but as the all-conquering King - He will usher in His new heaven and new earth where those who have accepted Him as Saviour will live with Him forever. Jesus has made that possible. What a wonderful birth to celebrate and a glorious future to look forward to. 




Advent Reader - 8th December
8th December 2019
Luke 1: 39-45
Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”


Will you believe

Mary, on hearing that her relative Elizabeth, who was old and barren, was with child ‘arose and went with haste’ to greet her. Mary knew that she had to go to be with Elizabeth.  Perhaps it was it to celebrate with her and share in her joy or maybe she went to see for herself if what she had been told was actually true.

There are times when we hear some news, news that is almost unbelievable, that can only have happened because God ordained it. But we can struggle to believe it is really true and we doubt.

We live in a world which tells us that God is irrelevant in this day and age. That if we want something then we must do it ourselves; we are self-sufficient.  To rely on God can be seen as a weakness.

But we know that God is real and that he is alive. The Holy Spirit helps us to see His glory today. That the joy of the Lord is our strength even through the most difficult of times. As Elizabeth proclaims ‘And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.’

Is there something in your life that God has promised, but it is yet to come to pass? Are you now doubting His promise? Will you believe as Mary did?


Ainslie and Jennie


Advent Reader - 9th December
9th December 2019
Luke 1: 46-56
Mary's Song of Praise: The Magnificat

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

Mary's Christmas message

Mary’s Magnificat or Mary’s song is a Holy Spirit inspired force from the soul of a faithful God-fearing young woman. Mary’s passionate words are just as relevant today as they were then.

Mary runs off to visit a member of her family who was called Elizabeth, who is dealing with what is seemingly a great impossibility of her own. It’s a beautiful and fantastic scene of unthinkable impossibilities becoming reality. Both women carrying a miracle within their womb.

And so, Mary bursts out into song celebrating a God who up lifts the humble and brings down the proud. The God who feeds the hungry and sends the rich away empty handed. It’s enough truth to bring revival to believer’s hearts this cold but wonderful festive Christmas period.

The story of God Himself, taking on human flesh and entering our world as a child. No human religion has conceived this as the One True God, Our God, came not to satisfy passions, but in fact left His royal throne in order to satisfy Divine justice for all humanity by later dying on an old rugged cross.

Many religions have a god but not one has a god who would do such a great feat as this. This is the story that needs to be told this year and every year.


Mary and Mwiya



Advent Reader - 10th December
10th December 2019
Luke 1: 57-66
The Birth of John the Baptist

57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

The joy brought by the Suffering Servant

In Isaiah 53, the prophet looks forward to the role of the Lord's Suffering Servant in bringing salvation. And in the next chapter, he compares the joy that this salvation will bring to the joy felt by a childless woman in being given children, or of a widowed or abandoned woman rescued from her pitiful or shameful state.

In Luke 1:57-66, the arrival of Jesus, the Suffering Servant Himself, was preceded by the joy of a literally childless woman, Elizabeth, to whom God gives a son - John the Baptist. Her joy echoes that of the childless woman in Isaiah 54. And there are other similarities too. Isaiah 54 speaks of it being God Himself who rescues the woman from her widowhood and abandonment:  


"You will no longer remember the shame of your youth 

and the sorrows of widowhood. 

For your creator will be your husband;

the Lord of Heaven's armies is His name!

He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,

the God of all the earth." (Isaiah 54v4b-5)


And He is our Redeemer too! May the same joy spill out from our hearts and into our lives.



Advent Reader - 11th December
11th December 2019
Luke 1: 67-80
Zechariah's Prophecy

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74     that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us[a] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Having named his son “John”, Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit and bursts into song, praising God after many months of silence.


There are two things that we found striking in this song:


  1. Zechariah prophesies that a Saviour would come to redeem his people. “Redeem” is a beautifully descriptive word. “Redemption” means to recover something or someone upon payment of a ransom. Jesus paid the ultimate price, giving His life on the cross for our sin.


Do you believe Jesus is able to redeem anything and everything that you face or endure?


  1. Zechariah prophesies that his son will prepare the way for Jesus. This is personal for Zechariah. God chose his son John, in all human frailty as a helpless baby to prepare the way for a Saviour.


Do you believe Jesus can use you in all your weakness to point others to the Almighty God?

May we say with Job (NLT) “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives and He will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God. I will see Him for myself. Yes I will see Him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!”

Advent Reader - 12th December
12th December 2019
Luke 2: 1-7
The Birth of Jesus Christ

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

This is such a familiar passage, but one that shows us God’s rescue plan for the world in full action. The words of a Graham Kendrick song express our wonder and what our reaction should be much better than I ever could:



That chose to be made small?
Exchanging untold majesty
For a world so pitiful
That God should come as one of us
I'll never understand
The more I hear the story told
The more amazed I am
Oh what else can I do
But kneel and worship you
And come just as I am
My whole life an offering
The One in whom we live and move
In swaddling cloths lies bound
The voice that cried let there be light
Asleep without a sound
The One who strode among the stars
And called each one by name
Lies helpless in a mother's arms
And must learn to walk again
What greater love could he have shown
To shamed humanity
Yet human pride hates to believe
In such deep humility
But nations now may see his grace
And know that he is near
When his meek heart, his words, his works
Are incarnate in us here



Advent Reader - 13th December
13th December 2019
Luke 2: 8-21
The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.


Would you believe it?

We perhaps have a rather romantic or nostalgic view of the shepherds in the Christmas story.  Who can resist a small child with a tea towel wrapped round his head holding a stuffed sheep as tightly as possible perhaps ready to deliver a line or react to an angel or three?

The reality was of course somewhat different.  Shepherds were hired men; rough, coarse and certainly as far as good middle class Jews were concerned, not to be trusted and certainly not to be believed.   As far as their religion went the shepherds were classed as unclean.  They never visited the temple - after all sheep needed looking after 24:7.

So, to a group of rather coarse, working class men who didn’t have much time for religion, heaven reveals its very best news using its very best choir.  Perhaps little wonder the shepherds were convinced and took the risk of leaving the sheep, their livelihood and became perhaps the first disciples ready to share God’s great news.

I don’t know how these men approached the townspeople of Bethlehem with the good news.  They didn’t have any tracts to hand out, or a service to invite people to, so they must simply have said “We have seen the Messiah and heard God‘s wonderful message of good news.” Something in what they said and how they said it amazed people and perhaps convinced a few as well.  These men went back to their sheep, the day job, changed men and no doubt their fireside chats over the weeks ahead were radically different as they praised God. Perhaps the shepherds’ male voice choir was heard echoing around the hills above Bethlehem.



David and Margaret 

Advent Reader - 14th December
14th December 2019
Matthew 2: 1-12
The Visit of the Wise Men

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men[a] from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose[b] and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

God in Control


“God made two great lights - the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth...” (Genesis 1:16-17).


Millennia later, one star outshone all the others in order to guide this group of Eastern mystics to the Christ child. One star in the right place at the right time, planned at the beginning of time by a God who knew when Jesus would be born on Earth, and knew exactly which people would use its light to find Jesus and worship Him. As God appointed the great fish to swallow Jonah, He also appointed the star to guide the wise men.


God knows each one of us and He knows what we need to guide us in our lives. He can use ALL of His creation to help us find and know Him, and He can speak to us in many ways, like He spoke to the wise men in a dream.


This Christmas, will you listen when God speaks to you? Will you follow His star and find yourself worshipping at the feet of Jesus?


“O Star of wonder, star of night,

Star with royal beauty bright.

Westward leading, still proceeding,

Guide us to Thy perfect light.”


(Rev. J.H. Hopkins 1857)



Steve, Kit and Eve 

Advent Reader - 15th December
15th December 2019
Matthew 2: 13-18
The Flight to Egypt

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Herod Kills the Children

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Left behind in Bethlehem


In the first half of this reading we God’s protection, and in the second half we see what God was protecting them from.  However, while in the first half God was evidently present and near to Mary and Joseph, in the second half God hardly seems visible at all.  Instead suffering and evil seem to triumph as a small village mourns the death of perhaps 10-30 boys aged 2 and under.


It would have been clear to Mary and Joseph that God was in control, that He knew what He was doing, and that it was in their best interests to be obedient.  However in Bethlehem we see a people weeping and wailing, refusing to be comforted, and who probably didn’t understand the story they were part of.


I’m sure we would much rather have an experience like Mary and Joseph.  To be hearing God’s voice clearly in our lives, to be trusting and obeying without hesitation and to know God’s protection from harm.  Perhaps the reality is we feel more often like the people left in Bethlehem, overwhelmed and confused by the suffering in our lives and the evil in the world.  Of course, we know that God is sovereign and will one day make all things new as this worship song says:


One day You’ll make everything new, Jesus

One day You will bind every wound

The former things shall all pass away

No more tears


One day You’ll make sense of it all, Jesus

One day every question resolved

Every anxious thought left behind

No more fear


When we all get to heaven

What a day of rejoicing that will be

When we all see Jesus

We’ll sing and shout the victory

(Matt Redman/Eliza Hewitt) 



Advent Reader - 16th December
16th December 2019
Luke 2: 22-40
Jesus Presented at the Temple

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant[a] depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.[b] She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Return to Nazareth

39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.


What Simeon saw

The thing that struck me when reading this passage was the immediacy with which Simeon recognised Jesus as the Messiah. Despite Jesus’ outward appearance, with one look Simeon could see that this was no ordinary baby and was in fact the promised Saviour he had been waiting for.

Throughout His time on Earth, there were some people, like Simeon, for whom Jesus’ identity was obvious, but there were many people who did not recognise Him and instead rejected Him. The same is true today. This Christmas, as we share the story of the nativity, some will hear it and see Jesus for who He is, yet much of the world still does not recognise Him.

Our challenge this Christmas is to use this time of festivities to share the Good News of Jesus with our friends and family members who do not yet recognise Him so that they might see what Simeon saw; so that they might have hope.



Advent Reader - 17th December
17th December 2019
Matthew 2: 19-23
The Return to Nazareth

19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.




For a key character in the Christmas story, Joseph sure didn't say a lot. Scripture records none of his words. Joseph, like many men, left dealing with people to their spouse.

Although Joseph was a man of few words, he was quite capable of making decisions and taking action when necessary.

He took Mary and baby Jesus down to Egypt as instructed by God (an Angel can be quite compelling). There he patiently waited for the next sign, whatever it might be, for what to do next.

And the message came - in a dream.

Following your dreams is not the usual path for a practical hands-on carpenter. But these were not usual times. Obedience grows out of experience - and knowledge of God. Joseph knew the message was authentic.

"Go" - so they went. Joseph was learning another lesson in obedience.

But he kept his eyes and ears open.

When he heard that the new ruler was Archelaus, he knew that wasn't good. Judea could be dangerous. He was afraid and decided not to go there.

Another dream. Joseph heeded the warning, took the hint and moved to the north.

His choice was Galilee, in the north away from the politics of the capital Jerusalem.

And he and his family settled in Nazareth - a quiet out of the way place but large enough to need another carpenter. His choice - but thereby unintentionally fulfilling the prophecy that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene.

Joseph is an important person in the Christmas narrative, not because he said anything, but because he did the right thing when told.

May we too be receptive to God's prompting.




Advent Reader - 18th December
18th December 2019
Luke 2: 41-52
The Boy Jesus in the Temple

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents[a] saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?”[b50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature[c] and in favor with God and man.


Jesus speaks with the teachers


Have you misplaced or lost something precious to you? Maybe lost sight of your child and had that horrible sense of panic?


In today’s passage Joseph, Mary and Jesus were travelling from Jerusalem to Nazareth after the Passover Festival when they discovered Jesus was missing. They returned to Jerusalem to search for Him and eventually found Him talking to and questioning the religious teachers in the Temple.


Can you imagine how frantic they were, searching everywhere for three days for this special child?


As we celebrate Christmas and 2020, approaches maybe God is searching for us; we may have lost our way too. We may be too busy running around, taking it for granted that God is always there and only really spending time with Him in times of desperation or need. Or our relationship is shallow, and we need to spend more time in conversation with Him developing our relationship by studying His Word and asking questions, just as Jesus did when He was with the teachers in the Temple.


For Jesus it was the most natural thing to take time to spend with His Father, vs 49 ‘Did you not know I must be in my Father’s house?’  As we start a new year maybe we should challenge ourselves to spend more time really exploring God’s Word and asking how He wants to use us to help Him welcome others who have lost their way, back into the safe arms of their Heavenly Father.



Andrea and Megan 



Advent Reader - 19th December
19th December 2019
John 1: 1-18
The Life-Light

1-2 The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
    God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
    in readiness for God from day one.

3-5 Everything was created through him;
    nothing—not one thing!—
    came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
    and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
    the darkness couldn’t put it out.

6-8 There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.

9-13 The Life-Light was the real thing:
    Every person entering Life
    he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
    the world was there through him,
    and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
    but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
    who believed he was who he claimed
    and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
    their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
    not blood-begotten,
    not flesh-begotten,
    not sex-begotten.

14 The Word became flesh and blood,
    and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
    the one-of-a-kind glory,
    like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
    true from start to finish.

15 John pointed him out and called, “This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word.”

16-18 We all live off his generous bounty,
        gift after gift after gift.
    We got the basics from Moses,
        and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
    This endless knowing and understanding—
        all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
    No one has ever seen God,
        not so much as a glimpse.
    This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
        who exists at the very heart of the Father,
        has made him plain as day.


Jesus - The Life-Light

This passage is read every year at our school carol service and so it instantly makes me think of Christmas; however, to bring variety I read these verses in the Message, where they are given the title “the Life-Light.”


As you are reading this it will be close to the shortest day – so, light is very important just now.  I visited the Discovery Museum in Dundee recently and as part of the tour you can go aboard the ship that Scott, Shackleton and many other brave explorers and scientists sailed upon to try to be the first to reach the South Pole. The reports of their time there tell of the initial rush on arrival to ensure that everything that needed to be done would be achieved before the 24 hour darkness of winter during the months of May to July set in. The darkness would restrict what they were able to see and do.


For some the dark nights and mornings are gloomy and they long for the summer days of daylight, but maybe we could use the blaze of light that fills a room when we switch on a lamp or Christmas lights as a reminder of our ever present personal Life-Light, Jesus, who wants to help and guide us and allow us to see what we need to do day by day.  The Message phrases it as “the Life was Light to live by.”




Advent Reader - 20th December
20th December 2019
John 10: 11-18
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

A different Shepherd

At this time of year when you hear the word “shepherd” you probably think of the shepherds we read of in Luke’s Gospel (to whom the angelic choir appear to) or of young children, complete with tea towel headdresses, performing in a nativity play.  Or perhaps, if like me you enjoy belting out carols, you think of “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night”. 

Shepherds are a common Christmas theme but our passage today is not a typical Christmas passage.  In this passage we read the words of the One that our familiar shepherds visited as a baby, now some 30 years later, telling us why He came.

We hear in the Lord’s own words: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” 

The baby whom we celebrate at Christmas, becomes the Good Shepherd.  The One that willingly gave up His own life for His sheep.  He knows us intimately, He is not some hired hand who will abandon us as we read here, but He loves and cares for us so much that He would lay down His life for us.

All this He has done willingly, He has the authority to lay down His life and He has the authority to take it up again. 

Praise God that Jesus came, that He died for us, and that He rose again – and all this to save us, His sheep.



Advent Reader - 21st December
21st December 2019
Colossians 1: 15-20
The Preeminence of Christ

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[a] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

No-one compares to Jesus


Wow! What an amazing section of the Bible.

Take a few minutes to reflect on some of what this teaches us about Jesus:

  • Jesus shows us what God is like.
  • Jesus surpasses all of creation and He played a central role in creation.
  • Everything and everyone was created for Him.
  • He is ahead of all things and sustains all life.
  • Jesus oversees the Church.
  • Jesus demonstrated His supremacy by defeating death.
  • Jesus encapsulates the greatness of God.
  • God sent Jesus on a mission of reconciliation and peace

The mission required Jesus to give up His life for us.

Our Saviour is not like anyone else. He is without equal in His power, authority, wisdom and perfection. His Creative power is beyond our understanding. His involvement in our world is total. His involvement in our lives is personal.

Pray that as individuals we would have a clearer vision of who Jesus is, what He has done and what He is doing. Give thanks that the Supreme One became the Suffering Servant so we could be saved.

Pray for those who don’t yet know Jesus – that their eyes would be opened and hearts receptive to His call on their lives.

“Keep your eyes on Jesus” Hebrews 12:2


Ewen, Lorna & Sophie

Advent Reader - 22nd December
22nd December 2019
Hebrews 1: 1-3
The Supremacy of God's Son

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,


God tells us about Jesus

God speaks to everyone, all through time: He spoke to our ancestors and He speaks to us today.

What God really wants to tell us about in this passage is Jesus! Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory – He’s just like his father! Jesus is heir of all things – everything the Father has belongs to Jesus. God made the universe through Jesus. Jesus sustains all things – He keeps everything going by what He says!  Jesus provided purification from sin – He gets the sin out of us! Jesus sits down at the right hand of God because it’s job done: He has done everything the Father has sent Him to do!

This makes us feel really happy because through Jesus we are forgiven for everything!

God hasn’t kept who Jesus is and what He has done a secret: He has told us and wants us to tell others all about Him.


Adrian, Karen, Alasdair and Kate

Advent Reader - 23rd December
23rd December 2019
John 11: 24-26
24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[a] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Do you believe this?


As Jesus arrives at the scene, Lazarus has been dead four days and Martha is trying to deal with the disappointment that He had not arrived sooner to heal her brother. However distraught she was, she still held out hope that Jesus could yet do something miraculous (v22).


Martha's initial affirmation of resurrection life at the last day was something taught by the Pharisees at the time. However, Jesus has in mind a more immediate restoration and challenges Martha to believe in Him who IS the resurrection and the life.


The challenge for us today is whether, in the face of disappointment when things don’t work out as we had imagined or prayed for, do we like Martha place simple trust in our Lord to bring real abundant life in the present and resurrection hope for the future?



Ken K

Advent Reader - 24th December
24th December 2019
John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

At Christmas time we celebrate the birth of Jesus. He came from the Father to make a way back to the Father for us.  Blinded by sin from the knowledge of God, we have revealed to us in the life and teachings of Jesus the nature and purposes of God.


Sin has condemned us to a life which leads to judgement and death. Jesus alone is able to defeat sin and its consequences, satisfy God’s righteous judgement of sin by taking it upon Himself in our place.


We are born into this world sinful, alienated from God and ruled by our own selfish desires. Amazingly God longs to bring us back into fellowship with Himself and in the baby whose birth we celebrate He brings to a climax His eternal rescue plan of salvation.


“I am”, says Jesus, taking upon Himself the name of God. “I am the Way”, He says. Not just I’ll show you the way, like a signpost or pointer but “I am the Way”.


Knowing Him, trusting Him, uniting with Him, being “in Christ”, this is the way to be reconciled with God the Father.


“I am the Truth and the Life” He says.  He stands against the lies and deceit of Satan which have captured the minds and hearts of mankind. In contrast, He embodies everything real, genuine and trustworthy.


As the Author of Life, He offers life in all its fullness, lived to glorify the Father now and forever.


Praise His Holy Name!




Advent Reader - 25th December
25th December 2019

Colossians 3: 12-17
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.



These verses are perhaps not usually linked with the Christmas story.  They don’t talk about Bethlehem or the birth of Jesus, which we celebrate and give thanks for at Christmas.  However, the person born in Bethlehem features strongly in these verses.


Verse 15 talks about ‘the peace of Christ’.  Verse 16 talks about ‘the message of Christ’.  Verse 17 tells us that whatever we do, we should ‘do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him’. 


In verse 15, peace is a subject that is familiar at Christmas.


It was the shepherds who got a huge surprise from the angels one night as recorded in Luke 2; “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests.”


In many ways, Jesus is linked with peace.  When He came, He provided a way for sinful people to find peace with God, because He came to bring sinful people and sinless God back together.  This also allows us to have peace in our hearts as we have the guarantee of salvation.  But Colossians 3 v 15 tells us to ‘let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts’.  One book says that when we obey the will of God, we have His peace within us; but when we step out of His will, we lose His peace.


This Christmas may we all know the peace with God that Jesus brings, know peace in our hearts that salvation brings, and also do our best to do what verse 15 says, ‘to let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts’.


Cameron P