by Rev Jamie York
ADVENT & CHRISTMAS GREETINGS 2015
I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
Advent & Christmas time are for most people a magical time of year. It is a time when loved ones gather, celebrations take place, and memories are made. It is most certainly a time of praise and glory to those of us who celebrate the birth of Christ. The magic of the season is found in an overwhelming sense of the joy of life, and in the relationships of our lives.
Even in those places where relationships are strained… where disappointments and sadnesses take place, we can look for spiritual support to the Babe of Bethlehem who became for us, “a Saviour, the Messiah, the Lord”. It is with Jesus, the Anointed One of God, that we can rest our cares and concerns and develop an ongoing faith-filled relationship that helps us to live more abundantly into our lives.
Christmas is a good time to start, or to continue to nurture that relationship with the Christ for our lives.
Christmas for many is a joyous time filled with goodwill and blessings and a sense of peace on earth. Many people will expand their circle of giving to those less fortunate, as they spread compassion and kindness into their community. We are beginning to hear good news stories during this unprecedented time in human history of people working towards support of Syrian refugees. It is part of the spirit of the season and of our knowledge of how Jesus would extend care and compassion, that the caring spirit of people is reaching out to help others who find themselves in a horrible situation.
There are many ways in which the Spirit of Christmas catches hold of us, and wraps us as God’s children in a warm, compassionate and loving embrace.
As you prepare yourself for the season of Christmas, I invite you to reflect on all the blessings you have been gifted in your life. I also invite you to attend our church services, in which we connect the spirit and love that we feel at Christmas time throughout the year in worship to God in Jesus.
May we continue to pray for peace and goodwill to all and gather to marvel at and worship our God Incarnate… Jesus the Christ.
The one who is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
Peace to you and yours in this Christmas season,
Reverend Jamie York
Hastings Roseneath Pastoral Charge, The United Church of Canada
Office: 905-352-2000 email: email@example.com Web: www.harpcharge.com
WORSHIP & SPECIAL SERVICES SCHEDULE
Regular Sunday Worship Services: Trinity Hastings 9:15, Roseneath 11:00
December 20 Sacrament of Holy Communion at both churches
December 24 Christmas Eve services Roseneath 6:30 pm Hastings 8:00 pm
THANKSGIVING & ANNIVERSARY GREETINGS 2015
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Giving thanks… it seems such a simple concept, yet it also seems to be something that we, as normal humans, aren’t always too good at doing. Even our prayers tend to focus more on what we need and want, rather than giving thanks. I wonder if perhaps this focus keeps us always wanting more; without giving thanks, we are missing the peace of God, which is promised to us in Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
Perhaps that is a good invitation for us all as we celebrate our Thanksgiving time and Church Anniversaries. Oh there is much to accomplish before the winter winds hit us. And we can work hard at doing our “to-do” list. Our invitation for this time of year can also be to spend some time in prayerful reflection of all the things that we can be thankful for. If we make our prayerful requests to God, will God do them for us. No… but God’s spirit will most certainly be invited into your heart, to quiet the heart and soul, to give you strength, direction and perseverance to overcome any reluctance to being truly thankful.
For myself, some of the things I am most grateful for include a roof over head and food in the pantry, a walk in the sunshine with my dogs, a conversation with a friend full of laughter; all for obvious reasons. Less obviously: I am thankful for the frustrations that offer me a chance to develop patience, for the challenges that encourage personal growth, and most of all, for the moments where my heart is open and my mind is quiet enough that I can see the glimpses of grace that God is sending into my life.
It is in these moments that I am intentionally stopping to give thanks to God, to acknowledge that I have all that I need, most of what I want, and an abundant share in the promised peace of God – all of which exceeds well beyond anything I can ask or imagine.
May your Thanksgiving be a time of giving thanks, of delighting in love, of walking in peace.
Wishing one and all, God filled blessings for your autumn season,
“[But] he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.” (Mark 16:6)
It could be said that we as Canadians have the opportunity to view Easter from an enviable position. By making that statement, I am implying that by the very nature of our Canadian winter and its movement into Spring, we move through a cold, snowy, ground covered place of non-growth, to a time of springing forth, with warmth, new life, and “newness”. These are all words that speak the Easter language of “resurrection”.
Mark’s Gospel, presents us with a simplified version of the story of Jesus’, death and resurrection. Three women go to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body, wondering on the way how they will gain entrance to the tomb. When they arrive the stone is rolled away, and a young man in white shocks and surprises them from inside the tomb. Then he says the statement printed above. The women are instructed to go tell the disciples, but they flee in amazement and fear and tell no one. Then we have the possibility of two endings to the gospel. The shorter ending, has Jesus coming to his followers through the Holy Spirit to point the way to salvation. The longer ending, has Jesus making appearances to Mary Magdalene, two other disciples, then the eleven apostles, before his ascension to God, his Father. Beyond that the gospel writer encourages the followers to go to proclaim the Good News of Christ.
Most of us have at some time in our life, lost a loved one to death. Part of what we do as Christian people is to live into hope, the resurrection story. Stories of the “strength of aliveness” are resurrection stories. They are the desire to never, ever let someone’s life, live into complete deadness. We remember, we share, we love, and we care for the many people who are and were part of someone’s life. Such is the story of Easter. Yes, the body was gone, but the Spirit of Jesus lived on in “aliveness” amongst his followers and continues to do so to this very day amongst the many followers of the Christian faith.
I wholeheartedly invite you to come to church to engage in the stories of ministry from this man of God, named Jesus at this holy time of the year. The invitation is open to all, to engage in worship, through prayer, music, fellowship and word to attend to the wholeness of a spiritual life.
I also invite you to make an Easter offering to the church to assist in the ongoing ministry of the United Churches in Hastings and Roseneath.
Wishing you prayers and God’s blessing at this Easter time,
Rev Jamie York, Hastings Roseneath Pastoral Charge, The United Church of Canada
Office: 905-352-2000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.harpcharge.com