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A Gift Of Christmas 2013

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The official leaflet about the meaning of Christmas produced by the Methodist Church of Great Britain. Available as free download in PowerPoint and PDF formats from http://www.methodist.org.uk/prayer-and-worship/advent-and-christmas/a-gift-of-christmas or for sale in printed form (see http://www.methodist.org.uk/news-and-events/news-releases/share-a-gift-of-christmas-and-celebrate-the-nativity-story-together). Copyright belongs to the Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes.

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A Gift Of Christmas 2013

  1. 1. A gift of Christmas
  2. 2. The child to be born will be holy
  3. 3. The child to be born will be holy …the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin‘s name was Mary… The angel said to her, ―Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.
  4. 4. The child to be born will be holy And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus… ―Mary said to the angel, ―How can this be, since I am a virgin?‖ The angel said to her, ―The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
  5. 5. The child to be born will be holy therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God…‖ Then Mary said, ―Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.‖ Luke 1:26-27, 30-31, 34-35, 38 (NRSV)
  6. 6. Till the time expected...
  7. 7. Till the time expected... And Mary said, ―My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.‖ Luke 1:46-49 (NRSV)
  8. 8. Till the time expected... Mary, hail! Though afraid, she believed, she obeyed. In her womb, God is laid: till the time expected, nurtured and protected. Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000) Singing the Faith 178, v.3 © 1971 Stainer & Bell Ltd. Used by permission.
  9. 9. ‗Arrival‘ or ‗coming‘ Advent, from the Latin ‗adventus‘ which means ‗arrival‘ or ‗coming‘, is the period of waiting and preparation primarily for the second coming of Jesus, but also for Christmas. Many people mark this by using an Advent wreath, usually a circle of evergreen plants with four candles.
  10. 10. ‗Arrival‘ or ‗coming‘ On the First Sunday of Advent, one candle is lit. An additional one is lit during each subsequent week until, by the last Sunday before Christmas, all four candles are alight. Many Advent wreaths include a fifth, ‘Christ‘ candle in the centre – usually a white one – which can be lit on
  11. 11. Longing for the Day of Glory Advent candles tell their story as we watch and pray, longing for the Day of Glory, ‗Come, Lord, soon,‘ we say. Pain and sorrow, tears and sadness changed for gladness on that day.
  12. 12. Longing for the Day of Glory Prophet voices loudly crying, making pathways clear, glimpsing glory, self-denying, calling all to hear. Through their message – challenged, shaken – hearts awaken: God is near!
  13. 13. Longing for the Day of Glory John the Baptist, by his preaching and by water poured, brought to those who heard his teaching news of hope restored: ‘Keep your vision strong and steady, and be ready for the Lord.’
  14. 14. Longing for the Day of Glory Mary’s gift, beyond all telling, was to give Christ room. She gave God a human dwelling in a mother’s womb. Who could guess the final story? – cross and glory; empty tomb!
  15. 15. Longing for the Day of Glory Advent candles tell their story on this Christmas Day. Those who waited for God’s glory: they prepared the way. Christ is with us; loving, giving, in us living, here today! Mark Earey (born 1965) Singing the Faith 165 © Mark Earey. Used by permission.
  16. 16. A decree went out... In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered... All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. Luke 2:1, 3-5 (NRSV)
  17. 17. Go away! There’s no room here! When a young unmarried couple tried to find a place to stay, then a Middle-Eastern village had no space, ‗No, not today.‘ Mary‘s pregnancy was clear. ‗Go away! There‘s no room here!‘
  18. 18. Go away! There’s no room here! Labour pains forced urgent action: any shelter now till dawn! In a shed to house the livestock Mary‘s baby then was born — nowhere for the child to lay but a feeding trough with hay.
  19. 19. Go away! There’s no room here! Songs that paint a cosy Christmas miss the truth of God above! See how God, rejected, homeless, came a child with wide-eyed love. Love transforms and brings release! Love brings justice, joy and peace! Peter Relf (born 1944) © Singing the Faith 220, vv. 1, 2, 4 Used by permission.
  20. 20. Glory to God in the highest… In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them ... the angel said to them, ―Do not be afraid; for see – 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.
  21. 21. Glory to God in the highest… This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.‖ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ―Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!‖ Luke 2:8-14 (NRSV)
  22. 22. Glad tidings of great joy... While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground, the angel of the Lord came down, and glory shone around.
  23. 23. Glad tidings of great joy... ‗Fear not,‘ said he (for mighty dread had seized their troubled mind), ‗glad tidings of great joy I bring to you and humankind.
  24. 24. Glad tidings of great joy... ‗To you in David‘s town this day is born of David‘s line a Saviour, who is Christ Lord; and this shall be the sign:
  25. 25. Glad tidings of great joy... ‗The heavenly babe you there shall find to human view displayed, all meanly wrapped in swaddling bands, and in a manger laid.‘
  26. 26. Glad tidings of great joy... Thus spake the seraph; and forthwith appeared a shining throng of angels praising God, and thus addressed their joyful song:
  27. 27. Glad tidings of great joy... ‗All glory be to God on high, and to the earth be peace; goodwill henceforth from heaven to earth begin and never cease.‘ Nahum Tate (1652-1715) Singing the Faith 221
  28. 28. Guided by the star so bright... Riding out across the desert, travelling over sandy plains, comes a company of wise men, moving steadily along their way; leaving all their friends behind them, guided by the star so bright, now they‘ve got to keep on going must not let the star get out of sight.
  29. 29. Guided by the star so bright... Riding through the desert, gently the wise men go, onwards to the king who was promised long ago; but they don’t know where they’re going to find him there’s many towns to search so they’ll keep on following the star, for it will lead them to his place of birth.
  30. 30. Guided by the star so bright... Wise men on their desert journey, travelled many miles so far though they‘re getting tired and weary, town of Bethlehem is not too far: how they long to worship Jesus and honour him with royal gifts; hearts are full of joy and wonder as they‘re searching for the new born king. Words: © Peter Ratcliffe/The Jubilate Group www.jubilate.co.uk Used By Permission. Singing the Faith 230
  31. 31. They offered him gifts... When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11 (NRSV)
  32. 32. God‘s gift to the world Many churches hold Christingle services at Christmas – Christingle means ‗Christ‘s Light‘.
  33. 33. God‘s gift to the world The custom of giving out lighted candles in these services originates from the Moravian Church in Germany in 1747, but wasn‘t introduced to England until the late 1960s. Christingles are made up of different parts, each with a different meaning. The orange represents the world and the candle is Jesus – the light of the world.
  34. 34. God‘s gift to the world The red ribbon goes all round the ‗world‘ and reminds us of the blood Jesus shed when he died for us. The four cocktail sticks could have either of two meanings: the four seasons or the four corners of the world, and the sweets (or sometimes dried fruit) remind us of God‘s gifts to the world including kindness and love.
  35. 35. To tell of Jesus‘ birth... It‘s round like an orange, this earth on which we stand; and we praise the God who holds it in the hollow of his hand.
  36. 36. To tell of Jesus‘ birth... So Father, we would thank you for all that you have done, and for all that you have given us through the coming of your Son.
  37. 37. To tell of Jesus‘ birth... A candle, burning brightly, can cheer the darkest night and these candles tell how Jesus came to bring a dark world light.
  38. 38. To tell of Jesus‘ birth... The ribbon round the orange reminds us of the cost; how the Shepherd, strong and gentle, gave his life to save the lost.
  39. 39. To tell of Jesus‘ birth... Four seasons with their harvest supply the food we need, and the Spirit gives a harvest that can make us rich indeed.
  40. 40. To tell of Jesus‘ birth... We come with our Christingles to tell of Jesus‘ birth and we praise the God who blessed us by his coming to this earth. Basil Bridge (born 1927) © Oxford University Press. Used by permission.
  41. 41. We pray for your blessings Almighty God, many years ago you sent your son Jesus, who was born in a simple stable and later Lived with his family and community. He was loved, fed, cared for, educated and supported so that he grew up to become strong and full of wisdom.
  42. 42. We pray for your blessings Sadly we know that today: millions of children all over the world will die prematurely from preventable causes millions will never get to school millions will go to bed hungry millions of children and their families live in poverty, here in the UK and throughout the world and may suffer from neglect or abuse, often ignored by the systems and structures of their societies.
  43. 43. We pray for your blessings We know this is not what you want in the world today. Your son reminded us to love our neighbours and to do good wherever we could. He also promised that he had come so that we may all live a full and abundant life.
  44. 44. We pray for your blessings We pray that this Christmas, and throughout the coming year, you will challenge and inspire us to be agents of change of your kingdom where all children will be fed adequately, receive an education, be given basic health care, safe drinking water and experience the love and nurture of their families and society.
  45. 45. We pray for your blessings We pray that all children can grow up to be healthy, for they are your children too and are all made in your image. We pray for your blessings on all children wherever they may be.
  46. 46. We pray for your blessings We pray through Jesus, who came as a vulnerable and dependent child and yet was taken care of by his family, friends and community. Amen. Daleep Mukarji, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference 2013/2014

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