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Midnight Holy Communion

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Midnight Holy Communion
SMAS Christmas 2011
John 1:1-18

Some time ago the BBC asked people to nominate their favourite poem and Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If” won. Dismayed poetry buffs said that it only won because it was a poem that everyone remembered from school days and there was probably much truth in that. Even so why have so many remembered it?

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:


Carols by Candlelight

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Carols by Candlelight

I reckon that "Away in a Manager," must have been written before the author had children. The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes, But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes. Real newborns usually bawl their heads off – if not at least they cry.

To understand what happened in Bethlehem, when the Baby awakes he cries – or at the very least he sobs a little. At the heart of Christmas there has to be a real live human baby.


Showing the Light of the World

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Isaiah 61:1-4 & 8-11  John 1:6-8 & 19-28
10.30 SMAS Service

Who’s ready for Christmas? Who is impatient? It’s a time of waiting and preparing isn’t it? Perhaps there are odd bulky looking bags on top of wardrobes – you know they contain something good and you can’t wait for Xmas to come so you can see what’s in them. It’s a bit like that in our reading today too.

The people of Israel knew that good was coming, they’d been told about it by prophets. Someone special was coming who was to bring good news to people who were having a tough time, people who were imprisoned, oppressed and broken-hearted.


John the Baptist

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Mark 1:1-8
2nd Advent (4.12.2011)

I’ve had a bit of a spring-clean this week! Not because the weather has been unseasonably mild but because I had the Bishop coming to pay me a visit! Despite having only lived here for about 10 months I was a bit horrified at how much clutter and dust there was in my study and I did need to do quite a lot of clearing out before I could clean it up. Yuk!

And the arrival of John the Baptist in our Gospel reading this morning also invites us to do a bit of spring-cleaning too. Try to picture him: he’s a young man, about 30 years old, with shaggy hair, strange clothing, and a loud voice. He comes among us, as he does each Advent, his message sounding inconvenient, and out of season.


Advent 2011

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Mark 13:24-37
9am & 10.30am SMAS Services

Advent today! A time when we prepare for Christ’s coming – in two ways. We prepare to celebrate His first coming as a baby at Christmas. But we are also preparing to meet Him at His second coming.

  1. Jesus was born in a stable which was like a shed.
  2. There were three wise men.
  3. Mary rode to Bethlehem on a donkey.
  4. Jesus was Mary's first child.
  5. There were cattle in the stable.
  6. The wise men visited them in a house.
  7. The shepherds visited on the night Jesus was born.
  8. The wise men visited on the night Jesus was born.
  9. Mary thought deeply about the shepherds' visit.
  10. The wise men were kings of lands in the East.

Numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and 10 are myths, some of which actually may be true, but there’s no way of knowing! The others are biblically true. You’ll see that we actually do our Christmas teaching in an incorrect fashion in many ways but as the story has become condensed down over the years it is one of those things we have to go with – shepherds and wise-men all turning up together. That little quiz shows us how much we know about Jesus’ first coming so you might know more now how about how much more you need to do to prepare for that.


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