Wednesday 4 January 2023

New Year! New You?

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Happy New Year 2023!

For many people this is the time of renewal or resolutions-

to choose to try to do something different which will better their life or living in the new year. But unfortunately, we know that many of these resolutions do not last because one’s life choices do not change only a few thoughts might have changed over all. This is because to bring about change in one’s life there is work.

But the good news is that when one chooses to follow Jesus- the beginning of change brings about newness of life, faith and hope. 

Just what are we hoping for in 2023? We know that economists are predicting a recession, inflation is creeping up slowly and so are interest rates. Homelessness is increasing as are the number of people seeking help with food security. But there is still hope if we have faith in Jesus!

Where does your hope lie? There is a concern rising that hope is fading for the next generations. Why work hard when you’ll get paid by either your employer or the governments? Why strive to do well in school? The jobs are just not there that will enable young people to launch into life on their own? Why pursue relationships as one cannot afford to move into different accommodations because there are few available?

But there is hope! If we look beyond ourselves and lift our hearts to Christ Jesus. He is the one who knows what is occurring in our hearts and minds. He is also the one who gives new life through his resurrection from death. He is the one who says come and follow me—I will give you life!

IT is through his birth that the gifts of peace, joy, love and hope are received. Have we forgotten from where our hope comes?

As we look to the empty boxes of 2023 calendars, how are you filling them up to have new hope for your future and life? Where are you looking for hope? As Christians our hope is in Jesus our Saviour. This is the best resolution yet—follow Christ in faith and with hope!


Holy God of grace we praise you and thank you for Jesus who brings hope to us as we begin a new year. There are many things we do not know or understand which will take place in these coming months, but we do know that you are with us through them all. Increase our faith and enable us to put our hope in you once again. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Simeon and Anna

 Simeon had waited for the Messiah to be revealed. God had told him that the Messiah would come before he would die.  Simeon received this message from God as he spoke to him about the Messiah. 

Does God still speak to us? Maybe not in the way Simeon received God’s message- directly; or even by God’s messengers the angels which is what occurred with Joseph and shepherds. But God has spoken and still speaks.

According to the writer of Hebrews 1:1-2: God speaks to us through Jesus.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe..

God’s promised messiah was fulfilled in Jesus. Simeon believed in God and was a righteous and devout man. The Holy Spirit was upon him. The Spirit guided him to go into the temple and when the parents, Mary and Joseph brought the infant for presentation under the law, Simeon took him in his arms. He praised God. He had waited his whole life for this moment! How many times had he asked God when? He was probably frustrated and discouraged by the plight of his people and God’s seeming slowness to do anything about it.

But in this moment, he is holding the child Jesus, the Messiah! He praises God “Master you are dismissing your servant in peace—for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Simeon is overjoyed at holding the child. Simeon blessed his parents. To Mary he said, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed and a sword will pierce your own soul, too.”

Simeon knew that Jesus was the one born to save the

people. His encounter with Jesus was brief but God’s promise to him was fulfilled. He saw Jesus the Messiah and his prayer was answered.

As we celebrate Jesus’ birth into the world this week what might we be anticipating? What prayers are we asking God? Maybe just maybe your prayers are not what you need answering at this time. Maybe what we are in need of needing is an encounter with Jesus. To feel and hear his presence as we look to Jesus in the manger and as we see him as the Saviour.

Christmas brings joy to the world through the expected hope one might have in Jesus’ birth. But we must believe. How are we to discern what this joy is about? It depends upon who we are and where we are in believing Jesus as the Infant, the child of God or saviour of all.


God of advent joy and Christmas wonder, we praise you for unexpected hope found in the birth of Jesus our Saviour. Help us to pause and reflect upon you and your Son Jesus. Help us to love as we seek your joy and wonder and as we learn about you and your creative hands. We praise you for your gift to us in Jesus the Infant King and the joy and wonder of all things in this life. Bless us O God as we anticipate our encounter with Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday 14 December 2022

The Shepherds’ Task

 What do we know about the shepherds who came

to the stable and saw Mary, Joseph and the Baby the night of his birth?

Why would these men, people living on the edge of society, be called to the stable and see Jesus?

One can only imagine what Mary felt like soon after giving birth to Jesus. She would be tired, uncomfortable, hungry, probably wanting a good hot bath for herself and just needing quiet time with the baby hoping he would nurse all right.

But the news of Jesus’ birth is something that needed to be shared right away! People needed to hear the Good News of the Messiah’s birth. God knew that people of all kinds of backgrounds and abilities needed to know that God’s plan to save His people from oppressors was now in place. He needed people to tell the story.

Luke writes that the shepherds were out watching their sheep in the pastureland near Bethlehem. They were probably sleeping in the cool night air as the sheep slept or grazed. Suddenly the sky fills with angels and there is loud music and songs. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” The shepherds were not sure of what has happened and so they talk amongst themselves to realize that they were not dreaming. They wonder what to do. They have responsibility for the sheep but they realize that what has occurred is big. They decided, “To go and see this thing which has happened.” It is nighttime. How will they find the messiah? Where will they go? They were told that the baby is in a manger so they know that these feed troughs will be in a stable. They run into town and search for a stable with light.  They look inside and they see them- Mary, Joseph and the Baby.  With Mary’s permission, they enter and worship the baby. This is the Messiah!

They probably realize that Mary is tired so they leave.  They do not go out quietly! They start shouting out to whoever might hear that the Messiah, the Promised One of God was born. They have seen the Baby in the manger and He is Christ the Lord!

The shepherds were social outsiders living on the land and looking after sheep. The angels entrust this group of men to tell the world of God’s gift of Jesus to the world.  How do we know this story? Through Luke’s encounter and interview with Mary later on. For Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

Mary’s heart calmed down soon after giving birth to Jesus. Betrothed to Joseph, many knew that she was pregnant and now she had given birth and wondered what was she going to do? She had faith and trusted God.  She knew that Jesus was the Messiah and yet she worried. After the shepherds left, Mary realized that they would be the ones to tell the story. Mary was at peace at least for now. She could take care of the baby with Joseph’s help knowing that God was looking after them all.

The shepherds’ lives were changed because they had experienced the wonder and glory of angels but because they saw the Infant Jesus in the stable with his parents. That night they were the ones God needed for this special task. They were willing to go to the stable and share their experience. They not only spread the word of Jesus’ birth to everyone in Bethlehem, they brought a reminder of peace and favour to Mary and Joseph.


What about you? You will hear Christmas songs and carols which tell the story of Jesus’ birth? Will you do the same? Will you tell your experience of Jesus and how you met him not only in the manger and as Saviour? As we await Jesus’ coming to us again, where will you find your peace?  Where is the message of hope given to you as you seek Christ’s joy?


God of love we are expecting so much as we anticipate and prepare for Christ to enter our lives once again. Enable us O God to experience joy in this world made possible through Jesus’ birth. Hear our prayers O God as we seek you and know you. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Doubts About God's Gifts

 Why in the world would Jesus be born into a human

existence? This is a question many often ask as we begin Advent and prepare for Jesus’ birth celebration. Do you have doubts about God entering into our world or the reasons why God enabled a young woman, Mary, to give birth to Jesus?

We begin the countdown to Christmas with four weeks of preparation. Sometimes there is panic in our voices when we ask, how will everything get done?  But what are we doing? What is essential to celebrate the birth of Jesus? To answer these questions we need to look at the stories which lead up to Jesus’ birth.

Before Mary became pregnant with Jesus, Zechariah and Elizabeth were told that they would have a child. Zechariah’s family had dedicated themselves to the care of temple, keeping the law and the high calling of representing the people before God. He lived in difficult and doubt-filled times. And he had no heir to carry on his name or his family’s priestly role. 

God sends an angel to tell him that Elizabeth would have a son to be named John. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to God. And he will make ready a people prepared for the Lord. But instead of thanking the angel, Zechariah doubts the angel’s words and how impossible it would be for Elizabeth to conceive and bear a child. Wasn’t Zechariah a man of faith? How could he not believe the angel and doubt what was possible? Maybe it was hope deferred. Or maybe after so many years he just could not fully grasp that he would have a son to raise. Because of his doubt, Zechariah became mute and for him as a worker to people in the church this would prove to be a hardship as he communicated the main and the message of life giving hope and comfort to all and now he could not talk and be understood.

Zechariah spoke words of doubt in God’s gifts and possibilities. He became unable to speak until John was born and ready to be named. Zechariah named him John and he grew up to be the one sent to prepare people for Jesus to come and minster among them. What are you doubting now?

Are you doubting you’re inability to live for yourself, to give to others instead of growing in faith and wondering if you truly need to wait expectantly for Jesus to come?

You might respond to these questions as matters of faith, but most likely these questions will cause us to ask further questions as we seek to grow in understanding who we are in relationship to Jesus- not as the baby in the manger, but as Saviour and Lord. What do you believe? What do you doubt?

Zechariah doubted the angel’s words and only could speak after the baby was born. He named him John. But what about you? What are the doubts in your mind that block you from believing in God’s Gift to us in Jesus?

Maybe it is time to open our hearts as we prepare to receive Him once again.


God of grace and hope we praise you and thank you for your promised gift of Jesus. Show us the way to grow in faith. Cast away our doubts so that we will know the baby of the manger and the Christ of the cross and empty tomb. Amen