Advent Reader 2022

December 1st - God with us
1st December 2022

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." - Isaiah 7:14

What strikes you as remarkable when you read this? A virgin birth is an incredible event, a real miracle that would undoubtedly go instantly viral in our social media feeds if it happened today. Yet the virgin birth is just a sign that points to something far more remarkable, and that thing is a son named Immanuel, which means ‘God with us’. Maybe we’re used to taking Jesus’ time on earth for granted. But what we see in this verse is the Lord promising us that he will be with us, and it’s utterly ridiculous – the Almighty, eternal, holy, perfect God announcing that he will enter this world and be with us! Not just coming as an almighty ruler of vast territories, as would be his right, but we see in the Gospels that he came as a mere carpenter to wander and tell people about himself, before sacrificing himself to save us. That is the God we can know, love, and serve. A God who loves us so much that he would come to make himself known to us, to suffer alongside us, and to be with us. Our God is Immanuel.

- Sean and Becca Ravenhall

Sean & Becca Ravenhall
December 2nd - The Great Light
2nd December 2022

"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."
- Isaiah 9:1-7


The first verse of this passage must sound incredible to many as we approach the end of 2022: ‘there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress’. There appears no end in sight to the war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, economic and political turmoil: so how will 2023 be gloom-free? 

And yet v2 contains the awe-inspiring, spine-tingling words: ‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light’. 

The prophet is pointing to the first Christmas – and beyond to the death and resurrection of our Saviour and the coming of the Holy Spirit. That is our marvellous hope: beyond the brokenness of this world we will spend eternity with God because of the miracle of the virgin birth. 

But the Great Light is not only for heaven. Each one of us can walk in it here and now, every day. Of course, there will be difficulties and problems in the world around us and in our own lives. Yet, because of that first Christmas, God can enable us to see and do things differently here on earth. We can all pray for each other in Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:16: ‘I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being’. 

We cannot be glib or complacent about the issues we and others face; but we can, through our lives, enable the Great Light to shine on them.

- Ian Walford



Ian Walford
December 3rd - Amazing Prophecy
3rd December 2022

"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.

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.

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,[a] from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
- Isaiah 11:1-16

These words by Isaiah, one of the greatest prophets, were written around 700 years before Jesus was born. The amazing imagery and uplifting and beautiful language point to a wonderful future. With the war in Ukraine, economic turmoil and much sadness and challenge in the world it is hard to imagine some of what these verses speak of – things like, ‘the wolf will live with the lamb’ (v6) and, ‘the cow will feed with the bear’ (v7).

As we celebrate Christmas, let’s remember that the birth of Jesus and the eternal life we can have through Him are the fulfilment of this amazing prophecy - the shoot from the stump of Jesse (v1), born to be the Saviour of the world. And God wants each of us to be part of this amazing future as we believe that Jesus, His Son, came to take away our sin. 

At the end of the chapter, v16 mentions ‘a highway’, usually a route that is straightforward to navigate with clear direction and few obstacles. V15 also talks of crossing over the river in sandals – that sounds easy! It makes me think that in God’s goodness as He loves us so much, He doesn’t want it to be difficult for us to be part of this glorious future. As we live out our day-to-day lives may we expectantly hold on to this in faith!

- Fiona McPhail


Fiona McPhail
December 4th - Where do we find comfort?
4th December 2022

"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
    that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord's hand
    double for all her sins.

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

- Isaiah 40:1 - 5


In our comfortable, fast-paced, instant world, we rarely wait on anything. A family meal can be delivered to our door within an hour. An Amazon purchase can be bought and delivered on the same day. On a special occasion, they’ll gift wrap it for you. Utility bills can be paid at the touch of a button without venturing into fresh air. Meals and coffees are consumed without leaving vehicles at drive-thru’s. As helpful as this can sometimes be, how much of this immediate world is playing into our bubble-wrapped lives?

Around 700 years before Christ, in Isaiah’s era, nothing was comfortable or fast-paced. In fact, life was brutal for God’s people. It had been a long, hard slog as they lived as exiles under God’s judgment. Yet the tide turns in chapter 40 as the Lord, through Isaiah, promises to comfort His people. Not with a Dominos, Starbucks or gift-wrapped Ferrero Rocher, but with Himself. Centuries later the words of Isaiah would spring to life again. As John the Baptist, cries ‘prepare the way of the Lord...(v3).’ With the coming of the Lamb, God comforts His people yet again with Himself as ‘the glory of the Lord shall be revealed...(v5).’ 

This Saviour didn’t come to be comfortably bubble-wrapped. He came to die the most brutal, barbaric death. Why? To appease God’s judgment for us. The greatest comfort of all is knowing our sin has been defeated. The greatest comfort of all is knowing Christ the King. As we approach Christmas, let’s not forget where our true comfort lies. It lies in the person of Christ. He left His crown in heaven, to be born in Bethlehem’s cradle, to die on Jerusalem’s cross. He lived to die for us.

- Paul McLoughlan


Paul McLoughlan
December 5th - Behold! My Servant
5th December 2022

"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.”
- Isaiah 41: 1 - 9

The beginning of these verses tell the reader to stop, to look, to study and turn our eyes to a... servant. We are probably far more familiar with being told to stop and witness the miraculous or wondrous, so why then does God call us to behold someone so lowly as a servant?

Twice God declares who He is, ‘I am the Lord’ and with all His authority commands us to ‘Behold’ – so are we listening? God isn’t calling us to look to any servant, but to His servant.

As we read this passage, we get a glimpse of our Servant King, the One who brings justice and mercy, who is gentle and lowly, who is faithful and true, and is a light for all men.

So, in fact God is calling us to the miraculous and the wondrous, He is calling us to,

‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things
of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.’
(Helen H Lemmel)

Will you behold our Servant King this Christmas?

- Jordan & Naomi Snitch

Jordan & Naomi Snitch
December 7th - A Prophecy: Great times ahead
5th December 2022

"Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
    siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
    on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
    from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
    when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
    to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
    to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace."
- Micah 1: 1 - 5

If one was to use our contemporary language one would surmise that when Micah wrote this Israel was not in a good place (v 1, 3). In recent years, we have faced material disruption to our lives and at times from a variety of sources we were told that ‘things will get better’. This was perhaps sometimes expressed more in optimistic hope than with certainty but in today’s passage we find a prophetic and certain promise not of better times but great times of Blessing. For sure, the people of Israel needed some good news, a lift, an encouragement and perhaps as we approach Christmas we share similar feelings and needs.

A ruler (the Messiah) is promised although it would be another 800 years or so before Jesus Christ is born. (Refer to Matthew 2). What then is the significance for us of this prophecy? In verse 4 Micah announces that the Messiah will bring hope, security and peace to not only the troubled nation of Israel but to all who put their trust in Him, ‘He will stand and shepherd His flock’ (N.I.V.) with all the strength and majesty of God. Perhaps take time now to pause and re-read verse 4 and contemplate its meaning and significance for you.

So, even when life and times may not be straightforward may we be encouraged by these powerful and assuring words from Micah which reflect God’s great love and concern for each of us.

Better times indeed...great ones in fact for both today and for the future!

- Iain & Dorothy Liddell

Iain & Dorothy Liddell
December 6th - We all, like sheep, have gone astray
6th December 2022

"Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors." 
- Isaiah 53: 1 - 12

How many times do sheep, lambs and shepherds appear in the Bible? Don’t worry, it’s a rhetorical question, although perhaps a good game with the children on a long car journey and I’m sure a computer can tell you in seconds. There are the sheep and the goats, the lost sheep, the literal sacrifices of sheep and lambs; all useful and recognisable motifs in Biblical times and still, even although most of us rarely come across them today, a handy reference point.

In Isaiah’s time, and still today, we, like sheep, turn away from the Lord, we ‘do our own thing’ to a greater or lesser extent and we pain the Lord as we do it.

Our salvation comes from God’s great gift to us: Christ who lived among us and died for our sins. Jesus who at His birth was visited by lowly shepherds, and who, amongst other things, was called the Lamb of God. Our collie, while not a trained sheepdog, inherently knows what to do around sheep and looks very happy when he reunites a stray with her friends. How much greater then is God’s happiness when we turn back from our own ways to His?

As we move through this period of Advent let us reflect on how we have turned away from God, in big or little ways, let us ask for His forgiveness and for His help in regaining the true path which will lead us to a closer walk with Him.

- Angus & Irene Ross


Angus & Irene Ross
December 8th - This Unfathomable Gift of Love
8th December 2022

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by 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. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 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. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister."
- Colossians 1:15 - 23

Jesus Christ is the ‘image of the invisible God’ (v15), in whom the ‘fullness of God was pleased to dwell’ (v19). Wrap your mind around this mystery: other than Mary conceiving of the Holy Spirit—that is, He supernaturally seeded her egg—we have no reason to believe the process of Christ’s development was any different to that of normal human gestation. So, when Mary’s egg was fertilised, the fullness of God was present in a zygote—a single-celled embryo. Can you fathom such humility? God, the Creator of all things, seen and unseen (v16), humbled Himself to the extent that He entered into His own creation as a single cell. An organism so small, the naked human eye cannot even perceive it. Yet, that miraculous embryo, so fragile, so vulnerable, was – somehow - simultaneously sustained and protected by the same sovereign God who holds all things together (v17).

To what end? To develop, be born, grow and live in perfect righteousness; yet, to suffer on a cross for the sins of the world; to make peace between God and humanity through His sacrificial and
substitutionary death; to present you, who were once hostile and separated from God through evil deeds, as holy, blameless, and above reproach before Him, through faith (20-23). Can you grasp the depths of such mercy? As we contemplate these things over this festive period, let us join the worshipful shepherds in glorifying and praising God for this unfathomable gift of love He has bestowed upon us (Lk 2:20).

- Ryan & Clare McKernan

From the Squalor of a Borrowed Stable (

Colossians Hymn (

Ryan & Claire McKernan
December 9th - Christ in context
9th December 2022

"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, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”?

Or again,
“I will be to him a father,
    and he shall be to me a son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God's angels worship him.”

Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
    and his ministers a flame of fire.”

But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
    the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment,
 like a robe you will roll them up,
    like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
    and your years will have no end.”

And to which of the angels has he ever said,
“Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?"
- Hebrews 1: 1 - 14

It is an unofficial tradition in our family to watch Lord of the Rings around Christmastime. One of the characters, Aragorn, is introduced as a helpful ranger who protects the hobbits. We discover his strength, wisdom, and goodness throughout the story - but it is only when it is revealed that he is the heir to the throne - the promised King - that we see Him fully. In the same way, we only understand Jesus when we see Him in the context of the whole story – He is creator at the beginning, saviour at the cross and Lord to the end. Hebrews wants us to zoom out and see that Jesus is the final revelation of God.

It is only after having seen this full picture that we can zoom in and appreciate the wonder of Christmas: the cosmic King in the cradle. God has never been known this well before - this clearly and this closely. We need to hold the infinite and the intimate together to grasp the incarnation and the comfort it brings. Jesus, our Lord who died for us, is at the right hand of God. He is for us and therefore all the resources of heaven are for us. Even the angels are now servants of those He has chosen! And as Gandalf would say: ‘that is an encouraging thought’.

- Josh & Kat Luke

Josh & Kat Luke
December 10th - Long before Bethlehem
10th December 2022

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men."
- John 1: 1 - 4

Rather than telling us about shepherds, stars, and magi, John takes us back to the real beginning of the story of Jesus’ birth: creation. God lavishly and lovingly made our world and us in it to share the joy, peace, and covenant community He has enjoyed for eternity. And He created all things through His Word. He spoke and it was.

Just as in creation, our Saviour, Jesus is that Word. Fully God yet taking on the form of man, this Word again accomplishes the Father’s will. Jesus then isn’t just a historical figure, born in the most humble of circumstances, worthy of our respect. He is the eternal Son of God to be worshipped. Indeed, the life that His birth, death, and resurrection give, is greater than the first breath of Genesis 1. The ‘Light of men’ is greater than the first light created, revealing to us the immortal, invisible God only wise.

So, from the very beginning, at the dawn of time, Bethlehem and Golgotha were already in view. Amazing love, how can it be, that the One through whom all things were made should be born and die for me!

- The Hofstra Family

The Hofstra Family
December 11th - Christ's example
11th December 2022

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." 
- Philippians 2 : 1 - 11

People are very diverse, even people from the same country. They vary in talents, abilities, wealth, and position in society. These are the standards by which society judges people. In a measure we participate in this attitude. In the above passage we find a different standard. Christ is the example. As God He is in the highest position – but He humbles himself to become a servant and to be obedient to death, even death on a cross.

Our attitude should be that of Christ Jesus: to walk humbly, considering others and their interests. Because of His self-humbling, God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name – the name of JESUS. At the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is God, to the glory of God the Father.

Our reflections on this passage show the greatness of Christ and the cost of salvation.

- Alex & Catherine Campbell

Alex & Catherine Campbell
December 12th - Our God, the God of the impossible
12th December 2022

"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. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 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. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 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. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 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.”

And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 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. 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.” And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 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. And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
- Luke 1: 5 - 25

‘Your prayer has been answered.’ Who wouldn’t like to hear those words?!

Here is an incredible exchange between an angel and a priest. The first paragraph introduces us to Zechariah and Elizabeth, described as ‘righteous before God, walking blamelessly...’ in God’s commandments. This was a God-fearing couple, faithful to the Lord and who respected His laws. But... they were old and without child. In an ‘honour/shame’ culture, this was significant for childlessness was seen as a disgrace (v.25).

They must have prayed a long time for a child, but their prayers remained unanswered. Until now.

The angel seeing Zechariah’s fear says, ‘Do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son’ (v.13). Humanly speaking, this is simply impossible, but God is the God of the impossible! By His power, even a virgin girl will bear a son.

God can surprise us. We may have to wait for an answer, like Zechariah and Elizabeth, but until then, we are asked to remain faithful. Waiting for God amidst heartache, pain or disappointment is difficult. At times, God doesn’t even answer in the way we’d hoped or imagined. But in truth, our cries are never left unheard; God is attentive to the prayers of the righteous (1 Peter 3.12).

How has God shown His faithfulness to you over the years? Let’s take time now to remember and renew our trust in the God of the impossible. When we’re tempted to despair, let’s ask for the Spirit’s help to remain faithful in our waiting. Our God never fails!

- Susan Gnadou Zabo


Susan Gnadou Zabo
December 13th - Our Holy Saviour
13th December 2022

Birth of Jesus Foretold

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

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. 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.” 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.
- Luke 1:26 - 38


As the angel Gabriel announces the birth of Jesus to Mary, we are told many things about Jesus.

Firstly, He is announced as a son in three forms: the son of Mary, the son of the Most High, and the son of David. Considering this, we learn that Jesus is man, He is God, and He is the long-awaited Messiah, whose Kingdom God will establish in eternity (2 Samuel 7).

Secondly, we learn that Jesus is to be called holy. When I think about what it means to me that God is holy, I simply think of His absolute purity of character, being 100% loving, just, good, merciful, gracious, faithful, patient, and wise. Therefore, when reflecting on myself, it doesn’t surprise me, that Paul writes in Romans 3:23, “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”.

This is precisely why God sent His beloved Son. In being holy, He is the first human being on earth who perfectly fulfilled God’s commands. He is the perfect sacrificial lamb to take away all our sins, so that we too may be made holy through Him (Heb 10:10). He conquered sin and death on our behalf. He is the perfect King who leads His people in doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord in eternity.

As we approach the birth of Jesus, let us reflect on our holy Saviour, through whom we too may live victoriously in His eternal Kingdom this very day.

- Mona Florke

Mona Florke
December 14th - There is nothing like the news of a baby
14th December 2022

"In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
- Luke 1: 39 - 45


There is nothing like the news of a baby to warm the soul, and give a sense of joy and hope for the future.

Here are two ordinary women, both pregnant, both offering praise to God under two very different circumstances. Elizabeth, beyond childbearing age, six months pregnant. Mary a young unmarried teenager, unexpectantly pregnant. Both subject to social stigma. Both would struggle to explain their expectant state to society.

What was Mary thinking as she ‘hurried’ to Elizabeth. Her mind must have been racing after her encounter with Gabriel. Was she going to support Elizabeth or was she going to check that Gabriel’s message was true? Had she told Joseph about her pregnancy and angelic encounter before she left?
How would she tell the older woman about her pregnancy? How would Elizabeth react?
So many questions that we don’t know the answers to!

But look at what we do see. Elizabeth greets Mary with such love and blessing which must have been a huge relief! There were no hushed voices of shame – Elizabeth was practically shouting the Good News! The Holy Spirit was at work in Elizabeth to prepare her for this encounter. Those months of seclusion had not been wasted as Elizabeth had pondered on God’s plan.

This passage is a lovely glimpse into the private encounter of these two ordinary, but special women sharing their calling by God for their roles in His great salvation plan.

Our souls too are warmed as we see the joy and hope for the future in this story.

- Christine Fairfield

Christine Fairfield
December 15th - Mary's Song of Praise
15th December 2022

And Mary said,

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

And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
- Luke 1:46 - 56


Mary’s faith and character shine through in the in the most challenging of circumstances. She was a young woman preparing for marriage when her life took a very unexpected turn.

Mary was initially troubled when approached by the angel who was to tell her that she will give birth to the Son of God, but her response shortly after reveals her humility and willingness to be used by God for His purposes.

‘I am the Lord’s servant...may it be to me as you have said’ (Luke 1:38)

Despite being aware that her life and the lives of people in the generations to come would be greatly impacted, and having little time to prepare for this responsibility, we see that she focuses on God and not on herself;

‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour’ (Luke 1:46-47)

Her song is one of heartfelt praise to God. Mary acknowledges that she has been blessed. She gives thanks for the good things He has done and will do. She praises Him for His power, His holiness and His mercy.

What an amazing example she sets for us!

Let us also sing our praises to the Lord this Christmastime.

- Ellen Hardie

Ellen Hardie
December 16th - The Lost Voice
16th December 2022

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 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.
- Luke 1: 57 - 66


This part of the Christmas story is not often told in the traditional Christmas story that we learn about as children. It focuses on the birth of John the Baptist, who was born a few months before Jesus.

John’s parents were Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were old, but they wanted a baby. They found out that the baby was coming because the Angel Gabriel visited Zechariah and told him the good news. The Angel also said that the baby should be called John. Zechariah was delighted but he doubted that the baby would ever come as he and Elizabeth were old. At that point, the angel said that he would lose his voice until all this came true as he hadn’t believed God’s words.

Time passed and the baby was born, and all that time Zechariah never spoke a word. The wider family all wanted to call the baby Zechariah, but Elizabeth and Zechariah said he needed to be named John, because of what God said. The Bible says that immediately Zechariah could speak again. The first thing he did when he got his voice back was praise God.

Something that this story shows is that it is important to believe God’s word and do what He says even when it sounds like it won’t happen. It also shows we can trust God for things to come and when He says He will do something, then He will do it.

- Harry Campbell

Harry Campbell
December 17th - Zechariah's Song - The Benedictus
17th December 2022

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

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby 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.”

And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
- Luke 1:67 - 80


Zechariah has been silent for 9 months because of his lack of belief in Gabriel’s message from God.

Now filled with the Holy Spirit, he no longer doubts and is no longer silent. His song comes bursting forth, just like Elizabeth’s loud cry and Mary’s song a few months earlier. He can see that God is doing something amazing, something which the prophets foretold, fulfilling the promises made to Abraham – starting with the birth of these two miraculous babies!

He glimpses that this salvation which is coming isn’t merely rescue from the hands of earthly enemies and occupying powers, but a salvation which deals with sin and death and darkness, a salvation where sins are forgiven and God’s mercy and peace reign. A salvation which will enable us to ‘serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days’.

We could pray that the Holy Spirit would:
• open our eyes and minds so that we can catch a glimpse of the wonder of God’s love and mercy and our salvation; and
• loosen our tongues that we might sing/shout/talk about that love and mercy and salvation.

- Dave Galloway

Dave Galloway
December 18th - Immanuel, God with us
18th December 2022

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 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. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

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

(which means, God with us).  When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
- Matthew 1:18 - 25


As we’ve learnt here in Uganda, different cultures have very different expectations of engagement and marriage. The custom at the time of Mary and Joseph was that a betrothal was a legally binding commitment
between the couple. We can imagine Joseph’s emotional turmoil as he grapples with how to break off the engagement quietly (divorce). It would be the sort of situation that would play constantly on his mind, and cause him to lose sleep. However, we read in the passage how God speaks
to Joseph in a dream, and reassures him and guides him with his next steps.

Verse 23 tells us that Mary’s baby is to be named ‘Immanuel’, meaning ‘God with us’. We can see the reality of God being ‘Immanuel’ with Joseph in this passage - how He speaks to him personally, how He gives him light at the end of his tunnel, and how He brings hope into a complex situation.

Like Joseph, we all know how circumstances can bring anxiety and make us stressed; our minds are not at rest. These verses are a comforting reminder that whatever situation we find ourselves in this Advent, God wants to meet us in our turmoil, speak to us personally and guide us. God is not ‘Immanuel’ at a distance, but knows me intimately, even my anxious thoughts.

May each of us experience God’s Peace on Earth this Christmastime.

- David & Emma Craig

David & Emma Craig
December 19th - The most important birthday of all
19th December 2022

 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.
- Luke 2: 1 - 7


These verses in the Gospel of Luke record Jesus’ birth as a point in time, a real event and a promise fulfilled.

Two, possibly unlikely people played a part in this narrative. It states that ‘at that time’ the Emperor Augustus wanted a census to be taken so people travelled to their own towns to register. Joseph, being a descendant of David, made the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem with Mary. On arrival they found an overcrowded town and no guest room available. The unnamed innkeeper offered them shelter in a stable since there was no room in the inn.

‘The time came’ for her baby to be born. Mary bore her firstborn son and laid him in a manger. This was and is a special child. This baby was both human and divine and came from the Father’s heart and love for each one of us.

‘When the right time came God sent his Son’. (Galatians 4:4)

The birth of Jesus is as relevant and real today as it was over 2000 years ago.

This Christmas may we find room in our hearts and lives to receive Him and spend time celebrating the birth of the Saviour, Christ the Lord.

‘In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe.’
(Stuart Townend)

- Janice Bathgate

Janice Bathgate
December 20th - The First Christmas Psalm
19th December 2022

"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. 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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

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

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.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them."
- Luke 2:8-20

‘And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!’ (Luke 2:13-14)

Peace on earth...
The angelic choir sings the first Christmas psalm: such important words.

Peace on earth...
But we are all now witnesses of the war in my country, in my Ukraine. Thousands of deaths, thousands of crippled destinies ... And at this time, more than ever, we want peace on earth. What kind of world did the angels sing about and is there such a world on earth?

Christmas is not only a celebration of the birth of Jesus, it is a celebration of the great sacrifice of the Father, His great love for all people. This little boy, who now lies in his mother’s arms and about whom the angels sing, will die on the cross for all people in a few years. And because of this, many, many people can be saved from eternal punishment for their sins. 

If they asked me whether I would die for someone, I would hesitate with the answer: maybe yes, maybe no, depending on the person. If I were asked if I’d give my only son to die for someone, I would answer immediately and without hesitation - no. But, God loves people so much that He gave His Son for me and for you, that we might have life, that we might have peace.

The peace that the angels sang about, this peace in Jesus, is in every heart that Jesus lives in! And for me it is a great blessing when there is a storm around me and a lot of incomprehensible things, but I have the One who helps me in my life, gives me peace and hope!

So, for me today, the angels’ words sound with special power: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!

- Tanya Bondarenko


... « І раптово з’явилося З Ангелом численне воїнство небесне, щославить Бога і волає: Слава у вишніх Богові, і на землі мир, у людях благовоління!»

«І ось раптом з’явилася з Анголом сила велика небесного війська, що Бога хвалили й казали: Слава Богу на висоті, і на землі мир, у людях добра воля!» (Від Луки 2:13–14)

І на землі мир...
Ангельський хор співає перший різдвяний псалом: такі важливі слова.

І на землі мир...
Але всі ми зараз свідки війни у моїй країні, у моїй Україні. Тисячі смертей, тисячі скалічених доль... І в цей час як ніколи хочеться миру на землі. Про який же мир співали Ангели і чи є цей мир на землі?

Різдво це не лише свято народження Ісуса, це свято великої жертви Отця, його великої любові до нас, людей. Цей маленький хлопчик, який зараз лежить на руках мами і про який співають Ангели, за кілька років помре на хресті за всіх людей. І завдяки цьому багато людей зможуть бути врятованими від вічного покарання за їхні гріхи.

Якби мене запитали, чи змогла б я померти за когось із людей, я б вагалася з відповіддю: можливо так, можливо ні, дивлячись за кого, хороша це людина чи ні... Якби мене запитали, чи віддала б я свого єдиного сина на смерть заради когось, я б відповіла відразу і без вагань – ні. Але Бог так сильно любить нас людей, що віддав Свого Сина заради мене і тебе, щоб ми мали життя вічне, щоб ми мали мир.

Мир, про який співали Ангели, цей мир в Ісусі, цей мир у кожному серці, в якому живе Ісус! І для мене це велике благословення, коли навколо мене шторм і багато незрозумілого, але в мене є Той, Хто допомагає мені іти життєвим шляхом, дарує мир і надію!

Тому для мене сьогодні слова пісні Ангелів звучать із особливою силою: Слава Богу на висоті, і на землі мир, у людях добра воля!

Тетяна Бонд

Tanya Bondarenko
December 21st - What a journey!
21st December 2022

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men 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 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 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. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
- Matthew 2:1-12

The Magi knew what was needed for the journey they were about to embark on, despite not knowing exactly were their journey would take them.

This was no ordinary journey, this was a journey of faith. Enquiries were made as they travelled and amazingly they were guided by a star.

These faithful travellers were led to a stable in Bethlehem were they found a mother and her baby.

Despite the stable setting there was no doubt that they were in the right place; they had finally reached their destination. The birthplace of the promised Messiah.

The Magi’s faithful actions brought them to the newborn King. With joy they worshipped him and presented their precious gifts. Few knew the significance of Jesus birth as they did.

Wherever life’s journey is taking us this season let us step out in faith willing to be led by God. Trusting in Him for all things and giving thanks for His great provision.

Let us share God’s peace, hope, love and joy with others this Christmas as we journey through life together.

- Gillian Wills

Gillian Wills
December 22nd - Goodies, Baddies & Babies
21st December 2022

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.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 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.”

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. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“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.”
- Matthew 2:13 - 18


In my Bible these verses are divided into two sections. In vv13-15 we read about Joseph escaping with Mary and Jesus to Egypt and in vv16- 18 we find out why they had to escape from Herod’s clutches. It is an instant reminder that the Christmas story is not all joy and laughter. There is sadness and suffering as well. It is probably the most dramatic event in the life of the infant Jesus with three main characters each playing a part. 

Joseph Listens
We don’t often think of Jesus being a refugee, but that’s what He became when only a few months old. If Joseph hadn’t been open to God’s voice and leading, he would never have become aware of the great danger the new-born Christ was in. Sometimes the good news God intends has to be heard first as bad news, to make us sit up and take notice.

Herod Acts
Bethlehem in those days did not have a very large population, so the total number of infants killed would not have been great - but the slaughter of even one child is one too many. In today’s world there are still plenty of people like Herod out to destroy the vulnerable in society. And behind it all is an enemy wanting the destruction of everything good in life: especially our faith relationship with God.

God Speaks
God isn’t just in the business of fixing problems. He knows and cares about everything going on in His world. The awful events recorded here were all known by Him in advance. The prophets Hosea (11:1) and Jeremiah (31:15) had predicted them centuries before. And God still speaks, so this Christmas be like Joseph and listen for His voice.

Don’t let Christmas pass without thinking and praying about
• Refugees escaping from tyranny
• Families who have lost children
• People out to destroy all that Jesus stands for
• Powerful people who threaten the vulnerable

- Robert Murray

Robert Murray
December 23 - Wait upon the Lord!
23rd December 2022

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.

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 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 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. 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. 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, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

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

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 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 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

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, 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. 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.

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

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.
- Luke 2:21-40


This passage has two witnesses: Simeon and Anna.

The first witness to see Jesus is an old man called Simeon. He is a devout man filled with the Holy Spirit, Simeon was told by the Holy Spirit he would not die until he saw God’s Messiah, also called Jesus Christ. The joy of Simeon when he sees Jesus is an overwhelming scene.

These verses tell us how happy he is seeing the salvation God had promised him. His words are confirmed by an old prophetess called Anna. Anna had been a widow for over 84 years. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. She was moved by the Holy Spirit to come to the place where Jesus was held by his parents. She gives thanks to God and blesses Him. She is the second witness after Simeon to give thanks about the Saviour that God had sent to this world.

Scripture says to wait patiently for the gift, the Holy Spirit whom the Father promised, ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8).

Today, let’s wait upon the Lord patiently in faith. We are witnesses as well. Those two witnesses waited for the first coming of Jesus. But we are waiting for His second coming when He comes mightily to rule over the world,

‘This same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven’ (Acts 1:11).

So now let us patiently long for the Holy Spirit to fill us, strengthen us and be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. Amen!

- Giftson Stanislaus


Giftson Stanislaus
December 24 - Destinations
24th December 2022

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 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.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 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. 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.
- Matthew 2: 19 - 23


No satnav needed here! From Nazareth- Bethlehem- Egypt- Nazareth. Some journey! Our passage today tells the story of the last leg of the journey. Joseph has four dreams in the Christmas story as told by Matthew. Two come in these few verses.

Joseph’s directions came from God through these dreams. Joseph got the message, got up and obeyed - no delays. By his obedience he played his part in God’s amazing plan of salvation.

Was this the way God always spoke to Joseph? We don’t know but one thing is sure, Joseph had no doubt his directions came from God.

We worship the same God who wants to direct our paths this Christmas but we must be able to recognise His voice as Joseph did.

These verses may help us.

‘Seek His will in all you do and
He will show you which path to take.’ (Proverbs 3: 6 NLT)

‘Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.’ (Psalm 119: 105)

- Wilma Armstrong

Wilma Armstrong
December 25 - Jesus, the Light of the World
25th December 2022

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 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 bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.
- John 1: 1 - 18


This Christmas Day, I wonder what is consuming your thoughts? Is it the thought of the presents, Santa may have brought? Is it the good food that you may indulge in? The family or friends you may spend the day with? Or maybe the worries of what you are facing, the cost of living, loneliness, health?

The good news is that today we can celebrate the birth of our Saviour, that because of this day, we can have eternal life.

We read in John 1: 4-5 that ‘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.’ With the coming of Jesus, He gives us life, that no matter what is going on in life He shines in the darkness, the darkness cannot overcome us.

Today, no matter what emotions or feelings Christmas may bring to you, have hope that Jesus is the Light of the World, and that today we can celebrate the birth of Jesus and if we choose to receive Him and believe in His name, we have the right to be called Children of God. What a blessing and privilege that is. Happy Christmas!

- Ainslie, Jen, Anatswa and Kupa Chinembiri

Ainslie, Jen, Anatswa and Kupa Chinembiri