“I bring you good news of great joy”: these were the words of the angel to the shepherds on the first Christmas night. They are familiar words, and we know in our minds that Christmas is to be a time of joy, but I am not sure that we are really very good at rejoicing. We might be good at eating food, and at surface level happiness, but what about the deep joy that comes from knowing we are loved by God? Rejoicing at Christmas means to dwell on this.
The message of Jesus’ birth was good news of great joy, according to the angel, because he is a Saviour. If we don’t think we need a Saviour, then it will be difficult to rejoice in the Christmas news. But if we realise that humanity does need a Saviour, to save us from the penalty of sin and to set us in right standing with our Maker, then it is the best news ever! It is the “thrill of hope” in which “a weary world rejoices”, as the carol says.
True rejoicing takes some discipline. Dwell on the real good news of Christmas. Thank God for it. Tell someone else about it. Spread the joy!
If you’ve come especially for Christmas, and are not a regular Sunday by Sunday attender, I have a challenge (or perhaps a plea!) that I am putting to everyone in my Christmas sermon this year. Would you try coming along on a regular Sunday just once in the New Year? Let’s see if it turns into a really good habit.
After Christmas, our sermons are on some “hot topics”:
29 December How can God be in control of everything?
5 January How to suffer and not lose your faith
12 January What does the Bible say about euthanasia?
19 January Jesus will judge the quick and the dead
26 January Christianity in Australia
There is much to look forward to at St Jude’s in 2020:
- Our new Assistant Minister, Rev. Andrew Goddard, joins us after Easter with his wife Erin and daughters Sophie and Zara.
- A new outreach ministry to new migrants through Bible and English classes. Training for leaders starts 31st January and the classes themselves are planned to begin on Monday 4th May.
- The upgrade to our Early Learning Centre playground is finally underway and should be finished in early February.
From February, all our regular ministries start up again: Bible study groups, Kids’ club, Youth, Sunday School, Play group, choir, Friendship group. In 2019, the Ramblers began meeting regularly to walk to various locations for fun and exercise. They will be back again in 2020.
As well as these regular activities, we hold two major community events each year: Fireworks in June (date TBA), and the Fair on Saturday 7th November.
Everything we do as a church is aimed at reaching people with good news of the Lord Jesus, and seeking to grow more like him, who loved us and gave himself for us. We want to fill this church with people who are gripped by his love. I pray that you will be a part of it.