Thoughts from the Vicarage 117

Greetings to you and yours as our hearts and minds prepare for the joy of Christmas.

Please find attached the Pews News for this week with services, readings and prayers.

It was a joy to see all those who came to our advent services, the Wednesday @ 7 sessions on zoom and of course the Carol Service which was much appreciated. As one person wrote ‘I thought that what you had provided for us was really nice – relatively straightforward but entirely to the point and completely appropriate in the circumstances. Much as I like the traditional 9 readings service I found this alternative gently spiritual and uplifting’ … one day, I too pray that we can return to a true 9 lessons but this service did indeed bring us truly into Advent.

Friday 24th December Christmas Eve

  • 11pm Midnight Mass St Michael & All Angels

Saturday 25th December

  • 9.00 Christmas Day family communion All Saints East Garston
  • 10.30 Christmas Day family communion St James the Greater Eastbury
  • 10.30 Christmas Day family Eucharist St Michael & All Angels Lambourn

Morning Prayer and Compline will continue throughout the Christmas season as usual with two exceptions. There will be no Morning Prayer on Christmas Day (I’ll be in church!) and Boxing Day or Compline on Christmas night or Boxing Day. You are all welcome to join in at any time. The zoom details are on page 2 of the Pews News.

Wednesday @ 7 The final Advent session is tonight via the zoom link that may be found on the second page of the Pews News attachment.

Sunday 26th December

The Benefice church wardens, in common with many other Benefices, decided that it would be wise to not hold services on Boxing Day. I suggest the following two services should you wish to join Boxing Day worship in your leisure wear …

  • A 9:30am Eucharist will be livestreamed from St Paul’s my ‘old’ Parish in Wokingham, without a choir, but with organ and carols. St Paul’s Wokingham from 9.30am,
  • An 11am service from the Cathedral will be a Eucharist without a choir, but with organ and carols. Christ Church Cathedral from 11am,

Bearing in mind the rising Covid infection rate locally, a quick reminder of a few things as we come to church this Christmas:

  • wearing a mask is now a legal duty in church;
  • ventilation in church is as good as it can be in each church;
  • keep using handgel;
  • move carefully around Church being aware of others;
  • please socially distance in church;
  • sit in alternate pews;
  • coffee and refreshments after Church (where they happen) remain paused – So maybe think about ringing up a friend for a chat instead or catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a while!

Whilst it will be wonderful to greet you and wish you the joy, the hope and peace of Christmas I am also very aware that this season is a challenging time for many, if not all of us. This echoes my writing of last year and here we are a year later, another Advent, and we are all living in some kind of need, often painfully aware of our vulnerability.

Please be assured that we will be holding in prayer all who will be missing someone this Christmas. Prayers for all those who are not able to be with their families, for those who have no family and those remembering loved ones who are no longer physically here but live on in the hearts and memories of our Christmases past.

A friend reminded me of a 1986 song by Bon Jovi Livin’ on a Prayer. This is not a Christmas song. Rather one that was written out of adversity and using the refrain . . . take my hand, we’ll make it I swear, livin’ on a prayer. The point is exactly what the song promises us, as God promises us: live like this (in prayer) and we’ll make it, I swear.

Thank you for all your kindness and thoughtfulness this Christmas tide and finally, let us all hold dear that at the heart of Christmas is Jesus, born among us. We pray that Jesus will be at the heart of our lives this Christmas and always.

May the obedience of Joseph and Mary, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, and the peace of the Christ-child be yours this Christmas.

With every blessing

Julie

 

Sung Holy Communion

Christ Church Cathedral

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