Advent Reader 2020

1 December - Isaiah 9: 1-17 - Looking at the Light
1st December 2020

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Isaiah 9: 1-17

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

The Lord’s Anger Against Israel

The Lord has sent a message against Jacob;
    it will fall on Israel.
All the people will know it—
    Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—
who say with pride
    and arrogance of heart,
10 “The bricks have fallen down,
    but we will rebuild with dressed stone;
the fig trees have been felled,
    but we will replace them with cedars.”
11 But the Lord has strengthened Rezin’s foes against them
    and has spurred their enemies on.
12 Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west
    have devoured Israel with open mouth.

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
    his hand is still upraised.

13 But the people have not returned to him who struck them,
    nor have they sought the Lord Almighty.
14 So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail,
    both palm branch and reed in a single day;
15 the elders and dignitaries are the head,
    the prophets who teach lies are the tail.
16 Those who guide this people mislead them,
    and those who are guided are led astray.
17 Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men,
    nor will he pity the fatherless and widows,
for everyone is ungodly and wicked,
    every mouth speaks folly.

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
    his hand is still upraised.


Looking at the Light


The picture of light shining in the darkness is a powerful one, especially in Scotland at this time of year as the nights draw in and the depths of winter approach. This year, with its restrictions, anxiety and uncertainty over what Christmas will look like, perhaps feels darker than usual.


In Isaiah chapter nine, God’s people are experiencing darkness. This is the darkness of God’s judgement due to sin. They are oppressed and ruled over by a foreign power, but God gives them hope in the worst of times. He gives them light in the darkness.


That light comes through a child who is to be born. A child who will set them free from sin and oppression. A child who is given extraordinary names – Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. He is no other than God the Son Himself, taking on our flesh. He reigns with wisdom, might and care. He brings wholeness to his people and peace with God, through his life, death and resurrection. And He will reign with justice and righteousness forever over all of His people.


So what about us? Has that child brought light and hope to us? No matter how great the darkness may seem, let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Light of the World. 


Alex and Frances

2 December - Isaiah 11: 1-16 - God's Promise of Peace
2nd December 2020

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Isaiah 11: 1-16


The Branch From Jesse

11 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
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—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
    or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
    with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
    with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
    and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
    and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean.

12 He will raise a banner for the nations
    and gather the exiles of Israel;
he will assemble the scattered people of Judah
    from the four quarters of the earth.
13 Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish,
    and Judah’s enemies will be destroyed;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
    nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
14 They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west;
    together they will plunder the people to the east.
They will subdue Edom and Moab,
    and the Ammonites will be subject to them.
15 The Lord will dry up
    the gulf of the Egyptian sea;
with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand
    over the Euphrates River.
He will break it up into seven streams
    so that anyone can cross over in sandals.
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people
    that is left from Assyria,
as there was for Israel
    when they came up from Egypt.


God's Promise of Peace

Receiving a card or an encouraging text when you’re down, discouraged, in hospital or confined to the house can be such a blessing. Such a blessing Isaiah’s message must have been to God’s people, if not more!


God’s people were facing exile to Babylon. God in His rightful anger is having to address and deal with their sin. And yet, in the midst of darkness there is hope! When it seemed all was but destroyed God promised to do the seemingly impossible. From a seemingly lifeless stump a shoot would come. Its roots would produce a branch that would produce fruit.


However, God is not telling His people to look out for a literal tree but to hope in a person, a unique person. This greater King David would be Spirit-filled, Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered. Through the Messiah God promises peace. This peace would be available to all and proclaimed to all peoples. It encompasses a return of God’s people, the forgiveness of sin and the transformation that brings.


Isaiah 11 is an important reminder of what God can do and indeed has done. At the same time, understanding these words to describe the Lord Jesus calls us to respond accordingly. Jesus is the promised Prince of Peace, who inaugurated the perfect Kingdom of God. Jesus is the Light in our darkness. Let us therefore this Christmas once more let the ‘Root of Jesse’ stand as a banner summoning us and all peoples to worship Him.


Christiaan Hofstra

3 December - Isaiah 42: 1-9 - A known God
3rd December 2020
Isaiah 42: 1-9


The Servant of the Lord

42 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
    who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
    who gives breath to its people,
    and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
    I will not yield my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
    and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
    I announce them to you.”


A known God

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God”  

Corrie Ten Boom  


This quote from Corrie Ten Boom is one that I have read many times this year, and there are many other times where it has popped up in my thoughts.  It’s safe to say that this year has been a year of unknowns for everyone; as someone who loves to plan and be organised, there are many times this year that I have felt overwhelmed.   


Isaiah 42:5-7 are verses which speak hope in the face of the unknown.  These verses remind us of who God is, His power and His majesty.  But these verses also speak of God’s love and care for His people;  


“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;  

I will take hold of your hand.  

I will keep you and will make you  

To be a covenant for the people  

And a light for the Gentiles...” (Verse 6)  


This righteousness is only made possible through Jesus, and His life, death and resurrection.  Christ is the hope that we have to hold onto in the face of the unknown.  We are known by God, and through Christ, we are able to know God, and the hope which He freely gives us.   


Carolyn B

4 December - Luke 1: 5-25 - Our faith is never in vain
4th December 2020

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Luke 1:5-25

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”


Our faith is  never in vein


I wonder if we can empathise with Zechariah and Elizabeth more this year?  The first few verses in this passage tell us they were both “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments…”.  And yet years passed without the blessing that they longed for, their own prayer for a child being answered. 

One of the most frustrating things about 2020, for me personally, is that there has been little reward for good behaviour; wearing masks, staying socially distant, closing our homes to friends and family. Yet each week there would be more restrictions, less places we could go, and few people we could meet up with.  We still can’t sing at church, we still can’t have home group, we can’t share meals together in one another’s homes.  It often feels that everything we’re doing right doesn’t seem to matter.

Zecharaiah and Elizabeth did everything they were meant to do.  Despite their circumstances, when it didn’t seem to matter, they continued to trust and serve God as best as they could. And then it did matter.  After years of apparent silence God declares that He has heard and answered their prayer, that they will have a child, and not just any child, but a child that will prepare the way for the Saviour!  After years of serving and trusting, of almost blind faith…Zecharaiah, with more evidence than he’s ever had, doesn’t believe that God can do this.

Isn’t it ironic that Zerchariah had more faith when God seemed absent, than he did when God was very evidently present? 

That is our challenge this Christmas, to trust in a God who actually shows up, who fulfils His promises, and who answers our prayers.  That is the message of the baby in a manger, that is the Christmas story.


Annemarie D

5 December - Luke 3: 23-38 - The Second Adam
5th December 2020

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Luke 3:23-38


23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,

the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat,

the son of Levi, the son of Melki,

the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,

25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,

the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,

the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath,

the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,

the son of Josek, the son of Joda,

27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,

the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,

the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki,

the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,

the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,

29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,

the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,

the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon,

the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,

the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,

31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna,

the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,

the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse,

the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,

the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,

33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,

the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,

the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob,

the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,

the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,

35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu,

the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,

the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan,

the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,

the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,

37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,

the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,

the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh,

the son of Seth, the son of Adam,

the son of God.


The Second Adam


It’s easy to skip over genealogies when reading through the Bible.  But if we take a moment to stop, read and reflect on why God chose to inspire these passages we can benefit greatly from them.

Unlike Matthew, Luke does not place his genealogy at the beginning of the gospel.  It is, at first glance, somewhat strangely positioned between Jesus’ baptism and His temptation.  Luke, who after all is giving us an “orderly account”, is being quite deliberate.

While Mathew, writing for a Jewish audience, focuses his genealogy on the Abrahamic line, Luke has a slightly different emphasis.  He takes us all the way back to Adam and ultimately to God Himself.  In doing so Luke is emphasising two crucial truths - Jesus is the Son of God and Jesus is the second Adam. 

In the verse immediately preceding we read of a voice from heaven declaring “You are my beloved son”.  It is at this point that Luke chooses to go through the lineage of Jesus – emphasising Jesus as the Son of God. 

And in the verses immediately following we read of Jesus’ temptation.  As Adam was tempted in the garden, Jesus was tempted in the wilderness.    Where Adam failed and brought death, Christ would ultimately succeed and bring life. 

In this Advent season, as we remember the Son of God coming to earth as a son of Adam, let us give thanks that although “in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”


Ken D

6 December - Luke 1: 26-29 - A VIP Messenger
6th December 2020

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Luke 1:26-29


The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

A VIP Messenger

The angel Gabriel appears to three people in the Bible. He first appears to Daniel, then about 700 years later to Zechariah and finally to Mary. In all of these appearances he is pronouncing the arrival of the Anointed One, the Messiah. When God sends Gabriel, we can be sure that something extremely important is being announced about the promised Saviour.

In these few verses we also see the coming together of two prophecies - Isaiah prophesied a virgin giving birth to Immanuel, God with us and that the Messiah would be a descendant of David’s line. God doesn’t work to our timetable, but what He says He is going to do He will do. We should take great comfort that we have a covenantal God who fulfils all of His unbreakable promises.

In the passage we also read that teenage Mary was confused and disturbed at this visitation from an angel (who wouldn’t be?). It’s another reminder that God works through real people with real fears, real uncertainties in real situations.

God never asks His followers to be superhuman. He asks them to be faithful and obedient – He supplies everything else. This was and is all part of God’s work, His salvation plan and work of restoration for mankind. 

This Christmas are we also being faithful messengers of the Good News of Jesus, or perhaps we need to see Jesus as the long promised Saviour for the first time?


John M

7 December - Luke 1: 30-33 - What's in a name?
7th December 2020

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Luke 1:30-33

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”


What's in a name?


Luna, Aurora and Maeve for girls and Asher, Milo and Oliver for boys, are reported to be the most popular baby names in Scotland so far this year.  Trends change, but when we look at our Scripture passage today, we find a familiar name, which has a depth of meaning beyond all others.

The angel Gabriel is at work again in these verses, passing on surprising messages of pending new birth.  Previously, it was to the aged Zechariah whose wife Elizabeth would unexpectedly give birth to John the Baptist.  But this time it’s to the young, unmarried Mary.  She had found favour with God – God was going to use her to bring His Son into this world.  It’s no surprise that Mary felt afraid!

He would be called ‘Jesus’ – no need to work out what name to give Him.  His name tells us His mission – He would save His people from their sins (Matt 1v21).  He would be our Saviour.

As Mary’s Son, He would be human.  As Son of the Most High (v32), He would be the Son of God.  For unto is a Child is born (His humanity), unto us a Son is given (His deity).   But He would also be a King (v32) – ‘the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David’.  So we pull the thread from Old Testament prophecies concerning the promised Messiah and find their perfect fulfillment in Jesus.

Not a normal day for Mary – her life was about to change forever, but having found favour with God, she was going to be used in a remarkable way in God fulfilling His salvation plan.  We can thank God afresh for the gift of His Son, but we can also pray for lives to be ready to be used by God.

The link is to a song by Christian songwriter Paul Baloche entitled, ‘Your Name’, which you may find yourself humming through today.


Alan P


8 December - Luke 1: 34-37 - That's Possible
8th December 2020

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Luke 1:34-37

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

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”


Mary has just received the staggering message from the Angel Gabriel that she was going to give birth to a son, she was to call Him Jesus, He would be called the Son of the Most High, He would take on the throne of David and rule over a never ending kingdom!

Not the normal every day experience for anyone!

The account in Luke goes on to say..."And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 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. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Mary was given news which humanly speaking was impossible to believe. It did not make sense, was disturbing and would have been frightening for her.

Gabriel explains that the impossible conception is made possible by God's intervention and higlights Elizabeth’s pregnancy as evidence of God's amazing power.

"For nothing will be impossible with God.”, or as other versions say "For no word from God will ever fail.”

These words have always been true - God created life and the universe from nothing, sustains life and intervenes into his laws of nature at times by the power of his word. It has always been true that nothing is impossible for God and always will be true.

That means it is true today!

What situations in our lives seem impossible?

We can take huge encouragement that our God is in the habit of doing the impossible!

Let’s learn also from the reaction of Mary - she accepted the unique and remarkable way that God was working in her life and responded by saying

 “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

Are we open to God's intervention in our lives and in the "impossible" situations that we face and see around us each day?

Let's pray for the faith and courage that Mary had to trust God who makes the impossible possible.


Ewen M

9 December - Luke 1:38 - Who's in charge of your life?
9th December 2020


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Luke 1:38

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.


This is a stunning confession of faith by Mary. Think upon what she has just been told: that she would conceive a child as a virgin, He would be called Jesus (saviour) and would reign on the throne of Israel’s greatest king, King David.

What would this mean for Mary? Did she think about the public shame of being unmarried and pregnant in her community and culture? She presumably had no idea that in the short term she would give birth in a stable and that she, Joseph and Jesus would have to flee their homeland in fear of their lives.

Presumably she had no idea that she would watch her son grow, have a public ministry of preaching and miracle working and then that she would watch Him be arrested, tried, humiliated, tortured and crucified. And resurrected.

Did she feel overwhelmed by those things she might have expected and the uncertainty of what she didn’t know? We don’t know. We do know that she submitted her life to the authority of God. “I am the servant of the Lord, let it be…”. This is faith; to put God in charge and accept His will for our lives.

May our prayer be that in the power of the Holy Spirit, each day we will say to God “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your word.”


George C

10 December - Luke 1:26-38 - The birth of Jesus, our Saviour
10th December 2020
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 birth of Jesus, our Saviour


The first thought when reading this passage was – it must have been a great shock to Mary when she was greeted with the angel’s words – trepidation even – she being a young ordinary teenager, who was already engaged to be married to Joseph.

Mary, although confused, and troubled accepted immediately the word of the angel, that she would give birth to a son, and He would be named Jesus – “Saviour of the World”, willing to do as the Lord asked, trusting and obeying her Lord.

As we approach Christmas, it is exciting to know that God sent us the gift of His awesome Son to save us all from our sins. Wonderful, amazing to know that our God loves us so much, that He would do that! For all peoples and for all nations.  There is no name greater than Jesus!

This Christmas especially will be a lot different, where many will be alone and separated from their loved ones.  So it is even more necessary to share His love at this time, as He told us to.


“From the squalor of a borrowed stable,

By the Spirit and a Virgin’s faith;

To the anguish and the shame of scandal

Came the Saviour of the human race!

But the skies were filled with the praise of heaven,

Shepherds listen as the angels tell of the gift of God,

Come down to man at the dawning of Immanuel.”

(Stuart Townend, 1999)



Ros W

11 December - Isaiah 7:14 - Immanuel - God with us
11th December 2020
Isaiah 7:14

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.

Immanuel - God with us


God sent His Son Jesus into the world in a miraculous way, His perfect salvation plan was one which was prophesied many years before. This was both a sign and a promise of God’s love for each of us.

This verse reminds us that we have a God who goes before us despite what is going on around us. We have a God who is control of the things we do not understand. A God who is faithful in all circumstances.

Let this be a comfort to us this Christmas as we remember the gift of eternal life that has been offered to us through Jesus God’s Son.

We have a God who keeps his promises and will not leave us.

Immanuel- God with us.


“Salvation belongs to our God,

Who sits upon the throne,

And unto the Lamb

Praise and glory, wisdom and thanks,

Honour and power and strength


Be to our God, forever and ever,


(Adrian Howard and Pat Turner)


Gillian W

12 December - Luke 1: 39-45 - Joy to the World
12th December 2020

Click Here to View Video of Contribution



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.”


Joy to the World


As I read these verses I am struck by the sense of excitement and joy! Mary hurried (v39), Elizabeth exclaimed in a loud voice (v42), and twice we are told that the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy! (v41 and v45).

Mary and Elizabeth both knew that they were part of something wonderful. There may well have been some apprehension about all that was happening, but I am sure they had a sense of the privilege of being part of God’s plan. We get a clear understanding from the passage of their joy and anticipation for what lay ahead! As Elizabeth says in verse 45 about Mary ‘Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!’

It makes me think of 2020 and how I might describe it. Hard to know what to say sometimes so I’ll settle for indescribable! With coronavirus, it has been a challenging year for everyone for many different reasons. As we’ve grappled with changes to our day-to-day lives there has been much to potentially rob us to some extent of joy and a positive focus on what lies ahead.

This year, as we celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus, may we be able to think beyond our immediate circumstances. Like Mary and Elizabeth, I hope we can be encouraged and excited by the joy and hope from the anticipation of the arrival of baby Jesus, and the stability that great event can bring to our lives. That we can open our hearts to Him and be revitalised in our faith and hope for the future.


“Joy to the world! the Lord is come;

Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare Him room.”


Joy to the World

(Isaac Watts, 1719)


Fiona M

13 December - Luke 1: 45-56 - Waiting
13th December 2020
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.



We have been reading how the Angel Gabriel brought the Good News to a humble, godly young lady in Nazareth. She was to be the mother of Israel’s

long-awaited Messiah, the LORD Jesus Christ. She rushed off to tell Elizabeth and came into her house like a ray of sunshine. Filled with joy, both ladies

and the child in Elizabeth’s womb were filled with the Holy Spirit. Mary’s Song of Praise to GOD reveals her thankful heart.

Mary and others were awaiting the birth of the LORD Jesus. We are waiting for His second coming as King of Kings and LORD of LORDS.

Today I sit and watch the leaves fall from my Acer tree. They fall one by one, just like the days of our life. None of our days are ordinary days. Every day

is full of opportunities to serve. We may even be asked to do something big, that only we can do. It may involve pain.

A B Simpson writes, ‘Dew never falls on a stormy night, so the dews of His grace never come to the restless soul.’

One day Mary was sitting, quiet and absorbed, thinking about the LORD. The Holy Spirit came. She responded, “I am the LORD’s servant, and I am willing

to accept whatever He wants. May everything You have said come true.” Luke 1 ; 38. NLT

She got up, refreshed and renewed. She was ready. Are we?


“Then bear a joy where joy is not,

Go speak a kindly word in love,

Less bitter make some loveless lot,

Now earth is linked to heaven above.”


Rev FREDERICK G. LEE b. 1832



Mima W

14 December - Luke 1: 57-66 - Trusting God
14th December 2020

Click Here to view Video of Contribution


Luke 1:57-66


The Birth of John the Baptist

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.


Trusting God


Have you ever been in a situation where everyone around you has doubted you, but you are certain you are doing what God has told you to do?  You might have felt a little nervous, your heart may be pounding, but you know that you need to be obedient to God and not to man.


Put yourself in Elizabeth’s shoes, she had just given birth to a baby boy, which in itself was a miracle given her age, and her husband was mute.  She was at her son’s circumcision and all those around her expected the baby to be named after his father, Zechariah, as would have been the tradition.  Her husband wasn’t able to speak, yet she knew beyond doubt that this was not the name the Lord had asked her to give the baby.  So putting aside all her nerves, fears, cultural expectations and traditions of those around her, she spoke up and said ‘No! he is to be called John’.  Those around her were so shocked that they looked to the baby’s father, knowing he was mute.  He signalled for a writing tablet and confirmed the baby was to be called John.  As he made this act of obedience, we are told that ‘immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free’.  What were the first words he uttered?  Praises to God.  This seemingly normal circumcision and naming ceremony was a testament to Elizabeth’s trust in God, those there were ‘filled with awe’ at what they had witnessed and went home telling everyone of the goodness of God.


Next time you feel doubt, remember the courage of Elizabeth and be obedient to what the Lord has asked you to do.


Jennie C

15 December - Luke 1: 67-80 - Lift our eyes
15th December 2020
Luke 1:67-80


Zechariah’s Song

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73     the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
    and to enable us to serve him without fear
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.


Life our Eyes

How reassuring it is to read, ‘the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace'. Zechariah isn’t talking about sunshine in a literal sense - although a few rays every now and then wouldn’t go amiss - but rather, the coming of Jesus. Zechariah’s prophecy is an outpouring of praise in response to the birth of his son, John the Baptist, and a consequence of the obedience displayed by Elizabeth and Zechariah in this process (see Luke 1:57-66). In a year where it’s been so difficult to lift our eyes beyond our immediate struggles, may we all, with steely obedience, fix our gaze heavenwards this season and focus on the truth that cannot be diminished by circumstance and hardship. May we be like Zechariah: mouths loosened, proclaiming the light of God and His tender mercies. 


Ross and Sarah J


16 December - Luke 2: 1-7 - No Room?
16th December 2020
Luke 2:1-7

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

No Room? 


God promised Israel in Micah chapter 5 that their ruler would come from Bethlehem and it’s wonderful to see, over 700 years later, how He set everything in place to fulfil this prophecy. 


Caesar must have thought that he was the most powerful person in the region, not realising that he was being used by God to accomplish His plan. 

Joseph and Mary were each told individually about the child who was to be born. They were from the house of David so because of this decree had to travel to Bethlehem for the census.


So why did God not provide a room for the birth of this precious One whom He sent to save us? The people of Israel expected their Messiah to be born in a palace. Do the conditions of His birth point to the fact that this Saviour does not conform to any of our expectations?


He came from the glory of heaven but was not welcomed here. Angels sang to announce His birth but He lived a humble life. In Matthew chapter 8:20 He tells us He had no home of his own. He came to give us hope and redemption but we rejected Him. Yet how does He repay us for the way He was treated? He forgives us and promises us a home in heaven with Him!


“This lovely old Christmas hymn, which was written to explain the truth of the Advent season to children, puts it well.


Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown

When Thou camest to earth for me; but in Bethlehem’s home 

Was there found no room for Thy holy nativity:

O come to my heart,Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee.


Thou camest O Lord with the living word

That should set Thy people free; but with mocking scorn,

And with crown of thorn, they bore Thee to Calvary.

O come to my heart Lord Jesus, Thy cross is my only plea.


When heaven’s arches ring and her choirs shall sing,

At Thy coming to victory, let Thy voice call me home,

Saying, Yet there is room, there is room at my side for thee!

And my heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus, when Thou comest and callest for me.”


Emily E S Elliott


Arthur and Violet Wintour

17 December - Luke 2: 8-21 - The Annunciation
17th December 2020
Luke 2:8-21

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.


The Annunciation


God is a God who communicates

- in the Garden

- to Abraham

- to Moses


So how does He announce the coming of His Son - the Messiah - to his chosen people, Hebrews, living in the outer reaches of the Roman Empire?

- The answer is surprising. God starts with Fear.

Nativity Plays are the joy and bane of Sunday School teachers and parents alike. Every child must play a part irrespective of talent and/or inclination.

God's approach was counterintuitive...

How not to organise a nativity in three easy steps:

1. Frighten people with Angels. Every time angels appear in the Bible their first words tend to be, "Do not be afraid".


2. Appear to the dregs of society. Shepherds were rough, uneducated and embittered.


3. Announce the incarnation in the middle of the night when it's dark.


And yet it worked.


As Paul says at the beginning of his first letter to the Corinthians - "God took the weak things of this world to shame the wise and announce

the coming of the Saviour."


The Angels show how insignificant and out of our depth we are. We should not think of ourselves - but the incarnation still says we are worth

something - worth the Saviour coming to redeem us.


And the angels came at night - How better to proclaim the coming of the Light of the World.


Peter M

18 December - Matthew 2: 1-12 - The Wise Men
18th December 2020
Matthew 2:1-12

The Magi Visit the Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

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

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.


The Wise Men


Today’s reading, often referred to as the story of the Wise Men, is well known to many of us from nativity plays, Christmas cards, and carols.

The 2nd verse lets us know their purpose. They asked in Jerusalem “where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him”.

Much about these “Magi, from the east” is not known. Who they were and their circumstances is not stated. What we do know is that they asked for the Messiah in Jerusalem, and that Herod based on his own motives directed them to Bethlehem, where the prophets had foretold that the Messiah would be born.

As they journeyed, they were “overjoyed” when they saw the star showing them where Jesus was, and when they found Jesus, they worshipped him, presenting gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh from their treasures.

What is our story? It might be a story well known or unknown to others. What signs and circumstances have prompted our journey towards Jesus? Who has helped us in our search? Have we followed the star that we have seen, and asked in the places we think Jesus may be?

Like these Magi when we find Jesus we will be overjoyed as well. And when we recognise who He is the appropriate response will also be to worship.

“O Come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord”


The Restall Family

19 December - Matthew 2: 13-18 - God doesn't send emails
19th December 2020
Matthew 2:13-18

The Escape to Egypt

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”

God doesn't send emails


God speaking through prophecies.

In this chapter we have four prophecies being fulfilled. We have the second one in our reading: "out of Egypt I called my son" (Hosea 11:1).

The third prophecy is from Jeremiah 31:15. Rachel is pictured as weeping from the grave as Herod's orders to kill all the boys are carried out.

God also spoke in dreams (verse 13).

The man in the Old Testament for dreams was Daniel. Not only did he interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he told him what the dream was.  Did Nebuchadnezzar forget or was he testing Daniel? (Daniel 2). If I told my golfing pals this story, I don't think they would believe it.  My policy is IF GOD SAYS IT, I BELIEVE IT, THAT SETTLES IT.

God also spoke in suffering to Job. after 42 chapters of suffering, he could say:  "my ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you" (Job 42:5).

Psalm 19 tells us God speaks in creation: "the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."

What we need to know about God's communication now is found in Hebrews 1:  "God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in the last days He has spoken to us by His Son.”  God sent Jesus who is the key to living in time and preparing for the future in eternity.  

I remember hearing this statement "God is all we need, but it is often not fully appreciated until God is all we have."


John S


20 December - Luke 2: 22-40 - God's Promise
20th December 2020
Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.


God's Promise

In this section of Luke’s Gospel, Joseph and Mary are taking Jesus to Jerusalem and presenting him to God in a tradition that would have been very familiar to those living in the context of the time (Lev. 12: 3-8). In doing so, they fulfilled a promise made to Simeon, by God, that he would not die before seeing the Lord’s Messiah. When Simeon meets Jesus, he praises God for His fulfilled promise and blesses the small family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. These verses speak to me of God’s promises, both fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled. 


At Christmas time we celebrate the coming of Christ into the world as a baby in a manger. However, as Christians we are looking toward the second coming of Christ. We are promised that the same Messiah met by Simeon will return. 


What an honour for us to be able to give God thanks and praise for this promise, whilst looking toward it being fulfilled.


Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going. ~ John 14: 1-3


Rachel M-B


21 December - Matthew 2: 19-23 - God's power made perfect in our weakness
21st December 2020
Matthew 2:19-23

The Return to Nazareth

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.


God's power made perfect in our weakness


2020 has been a very hard year on many individuals, families, and the whole world really. Personally, it has been one of the hardest years of my life, but as we approach Christmas I am reminded of the joy and grace that God showed us with the birth of His son, Jesus Christ.


Coming to Christ this year saved my life, and I look forward to living my life for Christ, while also recognizing that I am human, I am not perfect, and I pray for forgiveness of my sins.


I am particularly struck in this passage by the angel appearing to Joseph to lead his family, and ultimately fulfil the prophecy that Jesus would be a Nazarene. Joseph meant to originally follow the angel’s guidance, but then ultimately, recognizing that he is human, his fear to drove him to Nazareth instead of Israel as the angel had directed him.  God worked through Joseph’s fear to direct him to Nazareth, so that His purposes would be fulfilled. 


With Christmas, let us look forward to the future, a future afforded us by Christ and God. Merry Christmas!


Henry and Sheila K


22 December - Luke 2: 41-52
22nd December 2020
Luke 2:41-52

The Boy Jesus at the Temple

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.


Separated from family but not from God

I don’t know about you, but when I think of the Lord Jesus, in Jerusalem, at the time of the Passover, it’s not a 12-year-old boy that comes to mind.   I don’t think it had ever occurred to me that the first record we have of Jesus celebrating the Passover is in these verses.  I guess what strikes me most in this passage is where He longed to spend it – in His Father’s house.


In the past 24 hours we have been implored by our national leaders to have a ‘Merry little Christmas’.  Perhaps our longings to spend Christmas at home with family have been hampered by guidance to keep our celebrations ‘short and local’.


Like Jesus, we might find ourselves separated from our family, but because of Jesus we will never find ourselves separated from our heavenly Father. 


May you know a deeper fellowship with your heavenly Father as you celebrate His gift to us this Christmas. 


Annemarie D


23 December - John 1: 1-18 - Inextinguishable Light-Bearers
23rd December 2020
John 1:1-18

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.


Click Here to View Video of Reflection on this Passage


Inextinguishable Light-Bearers

“The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it.”


Here in Uganda, the stark contrast of light and dark are something we are very aware of. There is exceptionally little light pollution, and there are roughly 12 hours each of daylight and darkness. When it turns 7pm, the darkness promptly engulfs the house, we switch on solar lights and light candles, and the lights warmth and comfort fill the home.


In the dark it is all too easy for our fears to grow out of proportion, our thoughts can become monstrous and our children can have nightmares. It is easy to stumble and fall. It is easy to get lost.


There is a forest near to our home here, and we frequently hear tales of thieving (and worse), that happen in the shadows of the darkness. In the darkness, evil can often lurk.


What strikes me about this passage is the strength and power of the words ‘never’ and ‘extinguish’. No matter how bleak the darkness seems, Jesus, the Light of the World, illuminates, bringing clarity and comfort.


Christmastime reminds us of that ‘great light’ that dawned on those living in ‘deep darkness’. These days, we seem to be especially aware of the darkness in our world around us. Where people are lost, stumbling around or living in fear, let us be like the star of Bethlehem, guiding people to Jesus, the light of the world and the hope of all nations.



David and Emma C


24 December - Hebrews 1: 1-3
24th December 2020
Hebrews 1:1-4

God’s Final Word: His Son

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.


Do not be afraid



‘Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.’


In light of the Christmas season approaching, this verse reminds me of the paradox between Christ’s very humble beginnings at His birth and His formidable position now, sitting at the right hand of the majestic God. This was heralded in Luke 2.8-10, when the shepherds were approached by an angel of the Lord to tell them of Christ’s arrival, where their reaction was of terror, ‘but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.’


So often in the Bible and in our initial response to Jesus’ appearance, His miracles and goodness is to fear and be afraid. I ask myself: “Why are we afraid?” I wonder, is it because we feel we have made a mistake, sinned too greatly, not been good enough. The character of God, expressed through Jesus, has cleansed us from our sins. He now sits at the place of highest authority, having taken care of our sins that separate us from Him.


I sometimes find Christmas can be a paradoxical time. Although generally perceived as a happy time, it can also raise anxieties and fears. Maybe it’s the fear of being alone, the reminder of a loved one lost, not having enough money to provide for the family or not seeing your family because of COVID restrictions. If this is the case, I pray the verses above will encourage us: to see ourselves forgiven by Christ’s sacrifice, and to be unafraid of His presence, as there is great joy in our Saviour.


Our hope from the Hebrew text is that we can take courage and believe, as things worked out for Christ (now having the highest honour in heaven), so too will they work out for us.


Sarah McP

25 December - Colossians 1: 15-20 - Look Closer
25th December 2020
Colossians 1:15-20

The Supremacy of the Son of God

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 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 and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.


Look Closer

I wonder what image this passage conjures up in your mind. Do you see Christ crucified? Perhaps Jesus present and at work within the Godhead during the act of creation? Both come easily to mind given the text touches on both those elements of Christ's Lordship - first over creation, giving Himself on a cross so that we might be reconciled to God. 


However, the one image of Jesus that, for me at least, does not come to mind when reading these words, is one of a child laid helplessly in a manger. Can you re-read the passage and reconcile that image to the description of Jesus? That is the amazing mystery of Christmas for me.


Have you ever had the experience of receiving a treasured gift which at first glance didn't look like much? Perhaps small or insignificant looking, maybe it wasn't wrapped very well or just didn't have much to attract your attention.


This is the child born in Bethlehem, in a stable of all places! Yet when you look closer you discern "The image of the invisible God" in whom "God was pleased to have all His fulness dwell". This infant embodies the greatest gift ever given to men by God: peace.


As Romans 5 reminds us, we were once enemies of God, yet Christmas is the celebration of God coming into the world with the offer of peace and reconciliation. Don't overlook such a priceless gift this Advent.


Ken K