The Ageless Gift of Love

Fourth Sunday in Advent – 16 December 2012

What an incredible week we have shared together as a congregation here at Ashmore Uniting Church.  Christmas Plays and a musical, Children’s Funday, Op Shop break-up, Blue Christmas Service, a retirement home Christmas Service and today, Hope of the Ages presented by Grace Culture.

The two Christmas plays last week presented by the children in our church were wonderful.  The older children presented their play The Mysterious Christmas Card that gave us an insight from a teenagers perspective into some of the exponential benefits of giving and receiving – as it develops community, love, responsibility and sharing.

The younger children introduced us to a beautiful curious little sheep in the children’s musical, Hey Ewe.  The little sheep had a vantage point from her hillside hom that enabled her to “see the world below” and knew that something “strange was happening THAT night”.  The curious sheep was a witness to God pouring out His love for the world in the town of Bethlehem – “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).  The angel shared this news with the shepherds that were looking after our little curious sheep.  As the story unfolded, the little sheep saw visitors from the East make their way to the savior and eventually she herself met Jesus in the manger and was able to give her fleece to keep the baby Jesus warm.

It was wonderful for our children to perform this musical three times this week.  With each performance they were able to gain confidence and their memories will always have this experience as a part of their life journey.  They presented their play in three very different contexts.  Firstly they shared it in last weeks worship service; secondly they presented it again in front of all the children and playgroup parents at our children’s Fun Day on Tuesday, over 100 people.  Finally they delighted about 45 residents at Elston Lodge on Thursday afternoon.  One sprightly lady who is 100yrs of age made a particular point of telling me how much she appreciated seeing the children bring their message to the Lodge.  I must say, thank you to Sharon & Darryl, Kirtstie, Trish, Lu, Alison, Cheryl, and all the children, parents and helpers who put so much effort into making the Christmas Advent Season so special this year.

We have delivered all the food hampers and toys to assist some of the families who are part our community network through the Ashmore State School, the Op Shop, playgroup and our church.  The prison’s ministry chaplains have welcomed our practical gifts and toiletries and Ralph Reilly has had a busy time with his Useful Gifts Shop through TEAR by assisting people to make wise choices about their Christmas spending.  Our commitment as Christians is to live lives of justice love and mercy.  At Christmas time, we have an opportunity to make a bold statement to the world about those values.

Cheryl and I would like to thank God for the wonderful way that His Spirit is moving in the midst of this congregation.  Life is not always as we would want it, but with a strong and growing relationship with God, through Jesus Christ we can say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)

May you continue to experience a strong and growing relationship with God through Jesus Christ, who is the Hope of the Ages, during 2013.

May you be a witness to Faith, Hope and Love….this week……Rev. Brad Foote

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