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  November 2017
Advent Sunday to Christmas
ADVENT SEASON ~ CHRISTMAS SEASON

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Some Events in the Diary for December
Please see the Pew Sheet for fuller details:

3Dec17     10.30 Patronal Festival & Toy Service   St Andrew’s, Meonstoke We welcome the return of the Bagpipes to the Service

5Dec17     1930  COMBINED PCC MEETING at DROXFORD

10Dec17   17.15 Carols in the Barn                         The Barn at Hill House, with thanks to the Thynne Family          Meonstoke

Hackney and Bishop’s Waltham Deaneries Link

For many years the Deanery has collected food and clothes for a variety of church needs in Hackney to be taken up in December. Earlier this year our friends in Hackney told us that they now have built up their local contacts including food collections in their local Waitrose and several Schools so that they no longer need distance support. They have asked us to convey their warm thanks for our help over the years. Because of this there will be no collection of food and clothes for Hackney this Autumn. We shall still be grateful for any gifts of money which can be made payable to Bishop’s Waltham Deanery and will support our seven partners including the Winter Night Shelter. We will hope to meet our partners again during a Walk of Prayer probably in August next year. Norman Chatfield.

Meon Valley Food Bank – PLEASE HELP

Thank You for all your kind donations. MVFB has now been able to help well over 1100 people which would not be possible without your faithful support.

The items needed at the moment are instant coffee, UHT milk, porridge, sauces, jams, breakfast cereals.

 Thank you.

From the Rector

December: Advent and Christmas

On 6th December each year, the church celebrates St Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, who died in about 326.

Despite countless legends about him, Nicholas is something of a mystery. All that can be said for certain is that he was Bishop of Myra (in Modern Turkey) at the beginning of the fourth century. He was buried outside of his city, facing towards the sea. Legend has it that he was imprisoned during the Diocletian persecution of 303/4.

Nicholas is the patron of our friends at Wickham and he is also the patron saint of Sailors, and of children. His legend speaks of him giving three girls a dowry to prevent them having to enter prostitution when their family fell on hard times. He delivered the gifts at night to avoid being recognised.

Nicholas’ determination to remain anonymous in his giving, even dropping the bag of money for the last daughter down the chimney, gives us something to think about. At this time of year, when our minds are pre-occupied with Christmas shopping, presents and January sales, we can ask ourselves for whom we really do all this. Do we truly have others in our hearts?

For the last two years, we have collected quantities of mostly nearly new toys for children, who spend their Christmases in women’s refuges or in hostels, escaping violence and abuse, but with very little other joy. We are launching the same appeal this year at our TOY SERVICE, where anonymous gifts of toys are collected. Please join in the generosity again this year and help us collect even more new, rather than ‘pre-loved’ toys. Bring some happiness to those children, and joy into your heart, by giving with willingness. Bring the toys to the Toy Service on 3rd December at Meonstoke, or drop them into any of the Benefice Churches right up until 17th December.

Almighty Father, lover of souls,
who chose your servant Nicholas to be a bishop in the Church,
that he might give freely out of the treasures of your grace:
make us mindful of the needs of others and,
as we have received,
so teach us also to give. Amen.

In the Advent Season, we pray especially for:  The Church, that she may be ready for the coming of Christ, The leaders of the Church, The nations, that they may be subject to the rule of God, Those who are working for justice in the world, the broken, that they may find God’s healing.

An Advent Prayer

Watchful at all times, let us pray for strength to stand with confidence before our Maker and Redeemer. Let us pray to the Lord that:

God may bring in his kingdom with justice and mercy;
God may establish among the nations his sceptre of righteousness;
we may seek Christ in the Scriptures and recognize him in the breaking of the bread;
God may bind up the broken-hearted, restore the sick and raise up all who have fallen;
the light of God’s coming may dawn on all who live in darkness and the shadow of death;
with all the saints in light, we may shine forth as lights for the world, Amen.

Waiting for the Messiah

The Book of Ecclesiastes (1: 9) tells us:

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.

And yet, the everyday event two thousand or so years ago of the birth of a baby, in so many ways like millions before and millions since, changed the world forever. Before Jesus, there was profound longing expressed in the texts of the Hebrew Bible. The prophets especially were crying out, voicing the hope of the people, that God would not leave humankind abandoned, that He would give meaning to our lives, even beyond death.

On that first Christmas Day, a fragile, infant life was the response to those cries; God the Saving Son was revealed. This life was not a new thing, it had been there from before time itself. It was confirmation that the subject of the hope of generations was real. It was a proclamation that what had been prophesied and long awaited now was ‘under the Sun’ for us all.

God’s infinite love and generosity was given freely into the world – the Word was made flesh.

We wish you all an expectant Advent, a joy-filled Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. God bless you and all those you love.

 

 

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