Sunday 26th November

Acts 2: 38 – 47

Even though it will be the first Sunday in Advent next week, it still feels a bit early to mention Christmas, but there you go, I’ve mentioned it!  I heard a Christmas song in a shop in Exeter about 4 weeks ago.  Even the assistant on the till said it was too soon and she would be fed up of Christmas by the time it came, as they aren’t allowed to deviate from the piped Christmas music in the store.  Shops are full of Christmas flim-flammery and the expectation that we will all buy and over indulge.  The expectations we are encouraged to have for Christmas can lead us to feel inadequate, we can feel like failures when our increasingly limited financial resources fail even to meet the bills for the necessities of life.

We have expectations!  Our culture has taught our children to write Christmas wish list letters to Santa, who gives presents to the ‘nice’ children.  But what about the children who get nothing?  Does that make me naughty? they will ask themselves.  No child should be made to feel like that.

We expect to have ‘stuff’, we collect stuff and inevitably some people have more ‘stuff’ than others.

The lengths we will go to, to get ‘stuff’ is extraordinary.  But today is about sharing, so that everyone has something to give; giving so that someone who really needs something will recieve something.  We have brought toys and gifts to give to people whose Christmas will be less than we have come to expect for ourselves

Of course, the tradition of Christmas gifts began with Magi, the Wise Men from the East, who brought Jesus three precious gifts when he was a baby.  In some countries Christmas is not celebrated with gift giving until Epiphany – the 6th January, the day we associate with the visit of the Magi.

Let’s remember the one who made us in His image and gave us hearts and minds that love to have fun, to share and to grow as we play and work together.

Lord God, bless the toys and gifts that have been brought to be shared.
Help us be truly grateful for the time you give us to play and enjoy life.
Help all of our enjoyment, laughter and play to be kind, caring and sharing.
All that we have brought in love, let it be used to show your love to people in Exmouth whose lives are a struggle and stress.

Bless the children and families
who will receive our gifts with times of joy,
good times to look back on
and remember with a smile.
In Jesus’ name we pray.    Amen.

Rev. Janine