20th December 2020
"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light,
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned."
It is just over a week until Christmas Day. If you are someone having to work hard up until your Christmas break or you are stressing about all the preparations that need to be put in place by Christmas itself, then 'there is light at the end of the tunnel.' You will soon be able to rest and enjoy the celebrations.
Of course, Christmas will be different for most of us this year and very different for some. As the first people receive their covid-vaccinations we also look forward to being released from the threat of the virus and all the associated restrictions and disruptions. Once again, we can say, ' there is light at the end of the tunnel' for these dark times.
Advent is the Christian season when we look forward to something better. That something better is what God will provide when His rule is fully in place. However good our governments are God offers us a rule that is different. He offers us a ruler who is from above, the Prince of Peace (cf. Isa. 9:6). Jesus came as the great light, that shines in the midst of the darkness of our sinful world. Through his death and resurrection he overcame all the darkness to offer us a new and living hope as part of his kingdom from above.
You may be feeling oppressed by the barrage of bad news in our dark world. But this Christmas, whatever else you are able to do, remember the heart of the Christmas message and lift your hearts in praise once again to Jesus, the light of the world.
This will be the last email before 2021.
Please remember to register...
...if you plan to attend any of our Christmas services in person (singing only possible at the Carols in the Garden event on Christmas Eve, 6:30pm)
...if you want someone to be mentioned in our Service of Remembrance (this Saturday evening)
...if you want to receive the cut out crib characters for the crib service (Christmas Eve)
Please read on...
Prayer: Last reminder to send in a photo of you and your family for the Christmas greeting at the end of our Christmas services.
Care: Christmas service collections and giving.
Share: A book review on idolatry, a webinar on depression and details of christian holidays for young people in 2021.
Photos for Christmas Greetings
Thank you to the 17 households who have now sent in photos to be included in our Christmas greeting at the end of the Family Carol Service. It would be lovely to have a lot more. Please send them to me by Saturday (19th) morning at the latest. Just a quick selfie by the Christmas Tree would be fantastic!
Be assured I will do my best to check that people are happy for the requests to be shared before including them. Please pray for:
- Our Christmas services and plans this year - inside, outside and online. Pray that the good news of Jesus will bring people comfort and joy at Christmas and in the rest of their lives!
- Thanet Winter Shelter and the Food Bank as they seek to offer support to those in need this Christmas
- For safety over Christmas and a lowering of the infection levels as we start 2021.
Lindsey Isaacs who is going in for an operation on 22nd December.
Rita, Anna Sclar's sister who is having a bad reaction to cancer treatment. Please pray for healing.
- Nancy Brown, who fell and had to have an operation on her hip. Give thanks that she is making great progress
- Shirley Crabb that an appointment for a hip operation would come soon.
Barb - Gloria's daughter's friend as she continues chemotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer.
Christmas Service Collections
Christmas is a time of giving! Jesus said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' (Acts 20:35). As is our normal practice we would love people to give to the work of Tearfund over Christmas.
Tearfund brings together Christians and churches determined to follow Jesus and see an end to extreme poverty. When you donate to them, your money will be used by Christians in the most deprived parts of the world to tackle the most severe poverty. Read more...
If you would like to donate to Tearfund, then either put your money or cheque in an envelope, marked 'Tearfund' and drop it in the collection box in church. Even better make a donation online using our online Donation system:
Click this link, to go to the St. Luke's page on give.net
- Type in the amount you wish to donate in the box where it says, 'Donate'.
- Underneath that box, click on 'details and/ or your reference number' and type: "Tearfund" where it says donation details.
- Then tick the box to say whether you want to remain anonymous or not and click, 'Next' at the bottom and follow the instructions...
As I mentioned at the end of last Sunday's service, St. Luke's also needs your Christmas gifts. In November we said we needed to raise another £20,000 in one-off gifts to be able to pay our way this year. That is now down to about £15,000 - which is fantastic. If you are able to give a significant amount to help us end the year without debt that would be wondeful. We realise that many of you are not in a position to do that, but if you are able then your gift will be a real blessing to the rest of us. To donate to St. Luke's as a one-off, then click this link and follow the instructions to donate. (It is the same site as above, but if you do not specify what the money is for, then we'll assume it is for the general work of St. Luke's).
Last Week's Talk:
Don't Miss Out (Revelation 3:14-22) - Available Online
Don't miss out! The church in Laodicea are complacent and comfortable in their wealthy town. Yet, Jesus warns them that they are missing out on the riches he has to offer them.
Helpful Christian Blogs/ Sites / Webinars
Book Review: Here are your gods! by Christopher Wright: The Bible talks a lot about idolatry and as we have studied Revelation we have seen that Jesus challenges the churches about their compromise with idolatry. In this book, Christopher Wright offers a scathing criticism of contemporary political idols like prosperity, national pride and self-exaltation.
Webinar: Dealing with Depression, 4/2/21, 7:30-9:30pm or 6/2/21, 9:30-11:30am (cost £5): Depression is common. All of us know people affected by it, and many of us experience it ourselves.
So we know that depression is also horrible. At its worst it can be flattening, dehumanising, and its effects can even be fatal. It's a huge part of modern life but 'depression' never appears in the Bible, and the people that are most expert in dealing with it don't seem to need the Bible for what they do. In this session we will find that the Bible has a great deal to say about depression, to people who are depressed and to their carers, and connects at our points of greatest need. We'll also seek to understand how God uses both church and secular means to care for those struggling with depression.
CPAS ventures - Christian Holidays for Young people: Details of ventures are now available online. Bookings will open in the New Year. Remember if this is the first time you are going on one of these, there is a concession for people from St. Luke's as a CPAS patronage church.
Have a great Christmas as you celebrate the coming of 'the Light of the World!'
Yours in Christ,
Vicar, St. Luke's Ramsgate