Christmas Day

Last night I walked under the star studded sky to midnight mass. The moon was gloriously full, the sky was clear yet thick and dark like a velvety blanket.

How wonderful it felt stood in church as the clock ticked over to Christmas Day, here all of us were celebrating the birth of our saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ.

My voice seemed clearer last night, I sang that little bit louder, I stood up and read the reading. How honoured I felt to read the prophet Isaiah’s words. Words from the very same book that affirmed my call to follow Jesus from the very place I now stood.
I remember holding my new bible and praying over it, asking the Lord to help me start reading his word. The book fell open to Isaiah, and I started to read. The day after, my Vicar read the same passage and I promised to God I would listen. 

Merry Christmas everyone, wishing you all every blessing, our saviour is born!

  

  

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It gives light to everyone

One day this week, the children were at school and my husband was out. It was just me and my cats. I decided to put the Christmas lights on, light my nice smelling candles, put on some Taizé music and tried to catch up with some uni work.

I have two red tall candle holders on my fireplace, but I hadn’t got any long candles to go into them. The thought of my confirmation candle popped into my mind, could I light it again? Should I light it again? I had no clue, but I wanted to hold it in my hand again so I slipped it out of its box. I got a rush of emotion as I remembered how fantastic the night of my confirmation was. My head certainly felt hot as the Bishop lay his hands and spoke to me, the heat spread to a feeling of total elation. 

I decided to light the candle, I watched the flame burn, it was different to my other candles. The flame was so still and the light coming from it was irresistible, I stared into the flame, my breath short and shallow so not to create a flicker. The glow was so intense, yet with a rich softness, a ball of concentrated light projected around it. Prayer fell out of my mouth, the light so bright it seemed to extend further than the flame, a colour so golden and so pure.

Time had passed and I blew the candle, it did not go out, I blew it again, it still remained lit, I tried for a third time and finally the flame went out. As soon as it went out I noticed how dark the room now felt. It was as if I’d turned off a light switch, I was astounded, my candle and my confirmation a true gift from God.

‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. 

Matthew 5:14-16

The potter and the clay

Yesterday one of our open days at church was unattended, I felt sad and disappointed in myself, oh how I wish I could just show them how wonderful the Lord is. I prayed for those around the town to be able to hear the call of Cbrist and for our congregation to bring the light of our Lord into those around them.

As the session started it was just myself and the Vicar, then he had to leave.

When he left, not at one point did I feel alone, the church in silence is such a place of warmth. I sat for a moment in the hall and it felt strange that I wasn’t inside the main body of the Church. I walked up the aisle and the sun was shining in from the clear windows to the right. The altar was scattered in patches of light, so inviting and still. I love to touch the altar as I walk past, I don’t know why but as soon as I am next to it I have the urge to.
I lit the candles next to the prayer station and sat down. I thought I would use the clay I had brought to make decorations for the women in our congregation, praying for each name I stamped, I probably have missed some, but I’m hoping that if I have, they will come to me and I will make one for them. 

A person walked through the door, thank the Lord! He wrote his Christmas cards and thanked me for being there, I realised that attendance is an issue but being open allows people to come in, instead of going elsewhere, I finished the session with prayer. 

Here is my session I’d planned for the day 

– you will need some air dryable clay, a wooden skewer (to roll the clay and make a hole for the ribbon), a used tealight (upturn it to cut out the shape), and alphabet stamps.

Advent session week 2 

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.  (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

Our Heavenly Father made us, sculpted us like a potter at the wheel. Our fragile raw material, soft to the touch, still malleable , allows our experiences to mould us, to make us individuals.

Our fragility is witnessed when we are exposed to the wilderness. However, in the wilderness there is time to be rejuvenated, a time to sit back onto the potter’s wheel, a space to once again be in the hands of our creator.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.

We are the clay, you are the potter;

we are all the work of your hand. 

Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;

do not remember our sins for ever.

Oh, look upon us we pray,

for we are all your people. 

Isaiah 64:8-9

Place a piece of clay in your hands and start to change its shape
Think about John the Baptist in the wilderness, being moulded by God’s will.

Roll out the clay flat 
Think about the emptiness of the wilderness and the time and space it allows us to listen to God, like John paving the way for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Cut out one shape
John, a voice of one calling from the wilderness, baptising Jesus who in turn baptises us with the Holy Spirit.

Print your name onto your shape
Jesus calls us all by name to follow him

Prayer
O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence, Your love, and Your strength. Help us to have perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to You, we shall see Your hand, Your purpose, Your will through all things.
Amen 
(By St. Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556)

  

 

Quiet time at Church

We’ve opened the church for two extra days during Advent, I thought it would be a great idea to set aside some time to be still with our Heavenly Father.

I led the session last Thursday with a mixture of excitement and nerves. I often think when I step outside the congregation, and tiptoe at the edge of Ministry, that I am trying to fill shoes that are far too big for me, yet I have trust in the unquenchable motivation God provides for me. 

Here is the session I wrote for last week, Readings are in NIV.

Advent: week 1 – session 2
Hope
Readings:

Psalm 25

1 Peter 3:8-22

In this first week of Advent, we light the first candle to signify the hope that the light of God brings to us.
God provides the hope that darkness can be penetrated by light. That even in the darkest situations, God is present, God is the dazzle in the darkness.

Read: Psalm 25

I’d like you to think about this passage from the Psalm

“because my hope, Lord, is in you.”

Place your hands on to your knees with your palms facing down

Close your eyes and think about what you have hoped for recently

Turn your palms upwards, imagine you are laying your hopes into your hands as you raise your thoughts to our Lord.

Think about the hope that God gives to us, that he gave to us in the form of his son.

His son Jesus Christ that suffered for our sins, to bring hope to us that we can be forgiven and rise to glory with him in eternal life.

Turn your palms downwards on your knees

Prayer

God with me lying down

God with me rising up

God with me in each ray of light

Nor I a ray of joy without him

Nor one ray without him

Christ with me sleeping

Christ with me waking

Christ with me watching

Every day and night

Every day and night

God with me protecting

The Lord with directing

The spirit with me strengthening 

For ever and for evermore

Ever and evermore amen. 

– Carmina Gadelica