Carols By Candlelight: – 7:00pm Sunday 17th December
Crib Service for Children: – 5pm Sunday 24th December (Christmas Eve)
Holy Communion: – 11.30pm Sunday 24th December (Christmas Eve)
St Mary’s is an Anglican church which seeks to worship and glorify God through worship and outreach. Our services reflect a wide spectrum of different styles of worship which cater for all ages. They consist of Book of Common Prayer (BCP) Holy Communion, Matins and Common Worship.
Christmas Message from the Vicar
On December 3rd we enter into the Advent season. Advent is about expectation, anticipation, preparation and celebration. Over the years the season has developed traditions which can vary from culture to culture and between different denominations. For example, in the Christian faith and in secular society, people may buy or make Advent calendars and candles to count down the days leading to the Christmas celebrations, heightening the sense of anticipation. An Advent wreath is used in the Christian tradition that represents the four weeks leading to Christmas.
Advent wreaths are circular, representing God’s infinite love and are usually made of evergreen leaves, which represent the hope of “eternal life brought by Jesus Christ”. Within the Advent wreath are candles that generally represent the four weeks of the Advent season as well as “the light of God coming into the world through the birth of Jesus Christ,” each of the candles has its own significance as well; individually, the candles specifically symbolize the Christian concepts of hope, peace, joy and love. Many Advent wreaths also have a white candle in the centre to symbolize the arrival of Christmastide, sometimes known as the “Christ candle.” It is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. The Christ candle is coloured white because this is the traditional festal colour in the Western Church. It also represents the light of Christ.
At this point I want to use a talk that our dear departed friend Doreen Lockett gave to a group of people. It is entitled “The Light Of A Candle”.
Over the centuries the only sources of light in a home were candles. In the present time, they are only used for this purpose when a power cut occurs. Today, as we look around the gift shops and stores we see many candles of all shapes and sizes. There are scented ones and decorated ones. Many different containers are available to hold these candles. Many people find comfort and peace when lighting a candle. At this time of year, as we approach Christmas, we may decide to light an Advent candle to count the days up to the birth of the baby Jesus. In a meditative book I have which I shall use throughout Advent, ‘Christmas and the Twelve Days of Christmas’, I found this reflection on candles by Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla:-
‘Has it ever occurred to you that a candle does not lose any of its power and brilliance by lighting another candle? Its ability to share its brilliance is limited only by the length of time it can stay lit. When Jesus said, ‘You are the light of the world’ He did so with the knowledge that we have an unlimited source of light – the inner Christ.
Like a burning candle, each one of us can touch untold numbers of others with our unique light. We can keep touching and touching many other people with our love and our light without diminishing our own source in any way.
We are frequently unaware when we bring light to another soul. Some simple, casual word or gesture can serve to brighten someone else’s life when we least expect it. No, we never lose even a bit of our light by passing it to another.’
Doreen ends the talk with the Bible passage from Matthew, Chapter 5 verse 16. “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”. I want to add – “Doreen, you have carried the light of Christ throughout your life and used it at every opportunity available to you. I pray that we can all use the example that you have set us by walking in Christ’s light and allowing it to be a beacon of hope for all those in need.
May you rest in peace and rise in glory”.
Rev. Dave Marvin