Hello everyone! As usual I was busy at work and had my talk with Judith at Talking Spaces, when we realised how much progress I have made, and I will be ready soon to carry on with the ways Judith has helped me to put into practice to cope with life’s stresses. I took Thursday 20th as a day off work so I could get my Christmas preparations underway. My beloved and I were both going to the Acorn Christmas meal but my beloved did not feel up to going with me. I enjoyed the meal although I missed my beloved’s company. It was good to have more time to finish off jobs to be done before Christmas, cleaning and tidying and at last putting up decorations. I had a relaxing massage on Saturday and was glad that I had booked Christmas Eve off as holiday on the following Monday.
Our service was led by Rev Gail Hunt and it was a moving experience. We sang the beautiful carol ‘Silent Night’ after the readings from Isaiah of the prophecy of a child to be born, a son to be given and he will be called wonderful counsellor, Mighty God , Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace and the story of the birth of Jesus in Luke. Two members of our choir Jenny and Christine sang a duet about the birth of our Lord, which was lovely.
Gail started the sermon talking about the Bible and its two main sections the Old and New Testament. Gail explained that the last book of the Old Testament was Malachi and there was 400 years between Malachi and the New Testament and in that time no prophet spoke and no one received a message. 400 years of silence from God! It was in a time of chaos and oppression that that silence was broken by the cry of a baby! Gail talked about Reginald Fessenden who in 1906 sent the first radio transmission. He had invented the wireless ability to send Morse code messages to shipping; until that moment they had lived in a world of silence. We cannot in our day of mass communication imagine a world of silence; wireless technology means that messages can be received from remote areas to rescue stranded people or as my daughter Cathy sent one Christmas; we spoke and wished each other a happy Christmas, my beloved and I at home and Cathy on top of a mountain, where she had got a signal! It would have been so exciting to receive that first Morse code message alone on the high seas. On that particular day when Reginald discovered he could send a radio message he broadcast the words from Luke’s gospel; the angel’s message to the shepherds; ‘Do not be afraid; I bring you good news, news of great joy for the whole nation. Today has been born to you in the city of David a deliverer – the Messiah, the Lord.’ It is hard for us to imagine the impact of hearing that news broadcast to a lonely sailor shattering the silence with the Morse code message and then the voice communicating the greatest news of the birth of our Lord!
The cry of a baby broke the silence and into the chaos of Bethlehem overcrowded from the enforced registration required by the oppressive Roman authorities came to bring a sign of hope. It was not surprising that the long journey for Mary riding on a donkey would hasten the birth of her child. Gail felt sure that Mary would have said please not here in a stable with the animals, as there was no room in the inns; do not let him be born here please, I would rather be home. However it was where Jesus was born into the poor surroundings of a stable laid in a manger, an animals feeding trough, wrapped in bands of cloth. The baby born in a stable came as a sign that the 400 years of silence had been broken and God had come born as one of us to live among us and hope was born! Bethlehem his birth city is still a place of chaos and where there is struggle and oppression Jesus comes afresh to us each day. Gail encouraged us to pray especially for the dwindling Christian community in the place where Jesus was born. May Jesus be born for us afresh each day as he comes into our lives sharing our joys and pain and loss; often we feel him most at those times when we are alone coping with the loss of a spouse, a child or the loss of a home, job, family or security, although often as we look back we can feel that we are being carried by our Lord, when we felt most abandoned. Let us too not forget to give thanks for the most special gift of Jesus who will never let us go, even when we struggle to hold onto him!