This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. This year we are using the themes of hope, love, peace and joy for each Sunday in Advent. The theme for the first Sunday is hope. This year, perhaps more than many before, we do need to have hope. Our freedoms have been restricted, we have been separated from our families, we have been unable to attend funerals for friends and family who have died. Mourning has taken on new forms. Worship has been cancelled and then curtailed and then cancelled again.
Yet we do have hope, hope through Jesus, the light who shines in the darkness.
As it is Advent we should be preparing for the celebration of the birth of Jesus our Saviour so, as well as this Sunday’s service, here are some additional links and attachments:
- Wild Advent. A list of things to do from Advent Sunday to Christmas Day.
- An online Advent Calendar with art and reflections for each day of Advent https://adventonline.faith/advent-calendar/
- A reflection on hope at the end of this email
Sadly we will not be able to have a 'real' Advent carol service this year. However Steve has have put together a video 'virtual' carol service instead. This follows the format of our usual carol service and includes newly recorded prayers and readings interspersed with hymns and carols all recorded at previous Amberley Advent carol services between 2006 and 2011. (Words for the hymns will be on-screen so you can sing along!)
The service sheet is attached to this email or may be downloaded from https://kmtalk.org.uk/AdventCarolService.pdf
The service itself, which lasts about 35 minutes, can be found at https://kmtalk.org.uk/advent.mp4
We hope you enjoy it, and thank you Steve.
Finally I will be running an Advent course called ‘What happened to the donkey?’ This will be over three sessions on Tuesday 8th, 15th and 22nd December. We will use Zoom. Session 1 will look at Matthew’s account of the Nativity, Session 2 will look at Luke’s account of the nativity while session three will look at the first two chapters of Mark’s Gospel, compare the nativity story from Matthew and Luke and, if time permits, ask how the first few verses of John’s Gospel fit into the nativity story. The only preparation will be to read the relevant Bible passages. There is a limit of 11 people, so let me know if you want to take part
I hope and pray that you are all well, looking after yourselves and keeping in touch with one another.
A prayer for hope. You may wish to light a candle whilst you pray:
We light this first candle to pray for hope. We pray for ourselves and for
everyone. We ask that our hope will be fixed on God and that God will inspire
us to hope for good things. We pray for everyone who feels that their hope has
gone. May they find a new hope that shines like this candle flame.
Lord Jesus Christ, hope of our hearts and hope for the world, come close to us this Advent.
This reflection for Advent Sunday comes from the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church:
“As we enter the season of Advent we are reminded of the importance of hope.
“At this moment our society is becoming increasingly fractured. Many of us are frightened. Many of us are alone. Many of us have lost trust in our national and local institutions.
“We worry for our friends and family. We are frightened for the environment. We are increasingly disconnected from those around us.
“During this Advent season we will hear stories, reflections and prayers on the many ways the Church responds to these worries and cares. We pray for those who work to help others, especially at this time of year. We are reminded of our duty of care to our neighbours. We pray that we can find the strength to do more.
“And we pray that we will never forget hope. That we keep the Advent Candle lit. The hope of the coming of Christ.”