HCC Community - Thoughts and readings December 2020
As we cannot meet together as church at this time we have provided a place where we can share our thoughts and readings, as we normally do in our Sunday morning meetings. Please click here to submit your own thoughts and they will be added to this page.
On Sunday 27th December John shared his thoughts about the time between Christmas and New Year and the importance of guarding our hearts. Click below to watch a video clip of John's thoughts.
The following readings were shared during our Zoom church meeting on Sunday 20th December:
'May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.’ (Romans 15:13 AMPC)
'In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God.You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.' (Luke 1:26-38)
'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.' (Isaiah 9:6)
'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.' (Philippians 4:4-6)
'Rejoice always, pray continually,give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.' (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22)
Merle read the words of the hymn 'When morning guilds the skies'
On Sunday 20th December Merle wrote her third Christmas reflection - 'Light in the darkness': 'It is so sad that the celebration of our Christmas has been shortened to one day and travel has been restricted. However much our circumstances might have changed this year there are some things that never change. The message on the Christmas cards never changes.' Click here to read Merle's reflection.
On Thursday 17th December Tim has written an article entitled 'Restoring peace': 'For many, Christmas is a time to celebrate. Particularly those of us who accept the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. The decorative lights we see everywhere remind us of God’s light in a dark world.' Click here to read Tim's article.
The following readings were shared during our Zoom church meeting on Sunday 13th December:
'Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.' (Psalm 5:22)
'And you, my son, will be the one who speaks for the Most High. For you will go before the Lord to make the way ready for Him. You will tell His people how to be saved from the punishment of sin by being forgiven of their sins. Because the heart of our God is full of loving-kindness for us, a light from heaven will shine on us. It will give light to those who live in darkness and are under the shadow of death. It will lead our feet in the way of peace.' (Luke 1:76-79 New Life Version)
'When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.' (Luke 1:41-44)
'Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.' (Psalm 126:2-3)
'Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.' (Isaiah 42:1-3)
'The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.' (Isaiah 9:2)
On Saturday 12th December Merle wrote her second Christmas reflection - 'The joy of song': 'For three years, a robin sitting high up in a cherry tree, not far from our front door, has heralded the entrance and exit of people visiting our home. I have watched his changes of plumage throughout the year and have a little chuckle to myself when he skulks in the bushes late summer to hide his scruffy appearance during the moult.' Click here to read Merle's reflection.
Following last night's Bible study on openness and honesty Tim has written the following thoughts: 'Psalm 141 tells us to put a guard over our mouth and keep watch over our lips. So often we betray ourselves with our words. We’ve all had that sinking feeling when you know you have said the wrong thing. Likewise, we know the pressure that comes when we are handed an opportunity to say the right thing but struggle to find the words. It comes out all wrong!' Click here to read Tim's latest article.
On 7th December Cathy shared the following thoughts:
'Come December I enjoy rummaging out my Christmas treasures, one of which is a little nativity set. It was made for Tearfund and has the ethical feel of India, Joseph has an Indian headdress and all the three animals are water buffalos. This year I set it out on a windowsill and discovered that, whereas the animals line up on a mantelpiece, on the windowsill they have room to encircle the baby in the manger. It suddenly struck me that this is what they had all been made to do. With necks outstretched and mouths slightly open they were surrounding the baby in awe and adoration as were Mary and Joseph. All of this together with what the Lord has been unpacking in my own life especially through lockdown, together with church teaching and daily reading through Colossians brought into focus how central Jesus is. Colossians 1:15-20 reads: 'The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.' Jesus is the place where we find all the 'hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge'. (Colossians 2:3) How liberating to know that, whatever weakness or burden we may be struggling with, he has the wisdom and understanding to know what it is and the power to enable us to deal with it. May we trust his divine love and mercy to walk with us through it. May we too join with all creation in adoration.'
The following readings were shared during our Zoom church meeting on Sunday 6th December:
'Come near to God and he will come near to you.' (James4:8).
'I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.' (Psalm 27:13-14)
'For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.' (1 Peter 3:5-6)
'Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.' (Romans 12:9-13)
John's latest article for the Halesworth Community News is entitled 'A different Christmas': 'I'm sure a lot of energy will go into planning how to make Christmas work this year. Juggling 'family bubbles' and trying not to offend anyone could turn into a balancing act that requires considerable skill – and grace.' Click here to read the article.
On Friday 4th December Merle wrote the first of her Christmas reflections - 'Tradition': 'The Christmas celebrations in 2020 will pose a challenge for us all. Your Christmas traditions might well be different to mine. Some of us have young families; others might have family that has grown up, left home and started their own Christmas traditions.' Click here to read Merle's reflection.
Tim has written 2 new articles: Love, not tolerance - 'Tolerance is a word that has been popularised in recent times. It could be the key to living more peaceful and fulfilling lives, if we could just get along and accept our differences. Surely a more tolerant society would end the ‘isms’ that are so prevalent and destructive.' Click here to read Tim's article. Life's journey - 'Consider life to be like a car journey where you are the driver. We are in control and we make the decisions. When we start out there is excitement and a sense of adventure, we are happy to be on the road. For those that don’t know God the journey is a pursuit of something else: satisfaction, status or a search for anything meaningful.' Click here to read the article in full.
On Tuesday 1st December Merle wrote a blog entitled 'Hands off' based on what she had shared during the Sunday meeting: 'Prayer has always been part of my life. I can remember kneeling by my bed as a small child, whereas today I am usually sitting in a chair. My prayers consist of what has gone on during the day, whether it be a day of troubles or joy.' Click here to read Merle's blog.