Newsletter Christmas 2020

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Robbs ws
Robbs Family ws

Dear Friends,

We wish you a healthy, happy and peaceful Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

No doubt our best laid plans for Christmas have been disrupted and changed over the last few days and it will be a Christmas like no other.

I guess Mary and Joseph's best laid plans for the birth of their first child were also thrown into disarray by the decree of the Roman Emperor which caused them to travel the 80 miles to Bethlehem to register their names.
Mary would surely have preferred to spend those last few days of her pregnancy with her feet up at home in Nazareth watching Countdown and attending birthing classes whilst Joseph finished that cot in his carpenters' workshop — but it wasn't to be!

Instead, they had to cope with a long journey, camping along the way, searching for somewhere to stay and then making do with a stable.

It must have seemed as if life had been thrown into unprecedented chaos as one crisis merged into another.

And if that wasn't enough it wasn't long before Mary and Joseph were packing up and fleeing to Egypt for fear of what King Herod might do.

Even if you are born to be the long-awaited Messiah you are not guaranteed a trouble-free life, far from it!
And yet there in the middle of all that disruption, uncertainty and messiness as Mary and Joseph journeyed on, they were constantly reminded that God was still present.
They were blessed with signs and wonders along the way that kept them believing, kept them trusting and kept them faithful.

There were those visits from the shepherds to look back on and remember that God was indeed on the throne.
There was the unexpected visit from the wise men offering gifts and bowing down in worship to reassure them that this child was the Son of God.

There were dreams and visions in the middle of all the chaos reminding them of God's continual presence through the most challenging of times.

Life did not run smoothly for Mary and Joseph and it may not run smoothly for us, but let us remain faithful, trusting that behind those dark clouds, the love and light of God still shines for he is forever present.

Baptism of Lucas and Lilly Robb
A very special baptism took place at Alton Methodist Church on Sunday Dec 20th amongst a very small group of family and friends. Neil & Beverly Robb asked if their two children Lucas and Lilly could be baptised.

Beginning the service, we listened to 'Away in a Manger' and then read of the birth of Jesus. After speaking about the symbols of baptism — the water and the candles as well as the promises to be made, we then listened to the account of Jesus' own baptism.
Lucas and Lily didn't seem to mind the waters of baptism being sprinkled on their head and certainly enjoyed blowing out the baptismal candles! The service finished as we listened to 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' and said a final blessing.

It was a privilege to share in this special occasion — and we wish you all could have been there!

BB Christmas Post
Thank you to everyone who supported the Christmas Post. The number of cards delivered, at nearly 1100, was the same as last year despite the Covid restrictions and brought in a welcome £300+ for BB funds.
We also thank Judith Janes, Nancy Buck and John Jones for volunteering and helping the Boys and staff with our deliveries.
But a special thank-you goes to the kind folk who included a donation to be used by the Company. We are hugely encouraged that BB means so much to our Church family and acknowledge gratefully the receipt of more than £250 in donations large and small at this time.
David Allan
on behalf of all the BB Leaders
Thank You!

A special thank you to Debbie Bridger for organising and raising funds for the church through the sale of 100 packs of Christmas Cards!

Thank you also to those who so readily gave of their time and shoe leather to deliver cards, gifts, Carol Service CD's etc to over 100 people in the week leading up to Christmas — Judy, Liz, Jennie, Debbie, Angela — we thank you!

Christmas Services
The Christmas Eve Zoom Carol service is at 7pm — just click on the link in the accompanying email.
Christmas Day Zoom Carol Service is at 10am — come and wish each other a happy Christmas and share in a short service!
Also
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day recorded readings and carols will be found on the church website www.altonmethodist.org.uk
And a service for Sunday Dec 27th provided by the Parish of the Resurrection as a GAP service.

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