Day: 12 November 2020

Advent Windows

This year Advent and Christmas are going to be very different – but different doesn’t have to mean worse! To bring Good News and joy to our communities, we are going to be decorating our windows.

You might like to choose one of the days, or you might like to choose a part of the story.

You might want to change your window once a week throughout Advent, or you might like to organise with some local friends to do a different part each so that the story is added to in your neighbourhood. You might feel really ambitious and divide your window up into 24 squares and do one a day! Or you might have several windows you would like to decorate. However, you want to go about it, bring some joy and the Good News of Jesus to your friends and neighbours this Christmas.

Let’s shine as lights in the darkness to the Glory of God!

1Good news!‘God sent the angel Gabriel to a girl named Mary’ Luke 1:26Thank you God that you reach out to us
2Don’t worry‘The angel said to her, ‘don’t be afraid because God is very pleased with you’ Luke 1:30Please God take my fear away
3Listen!‘Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus’ Luke 1:31Help me to listen out for you
4Son of God‘He will be great. People will call him ‘the son of the most high God’ Luke 1:32Thank you for your amazing gift!
5She said yes!‘Mary said, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. Let this thing you have said happen to me’ Luke 1:38Help me to say yes like Mary
6The register‘Caesar sent out an order that everyone’s name must be put on a list’ Luke 2:1Give me strength when I have to obey
7The journey‘Everyone traveled to their own town to have their names put on the list’ Luke 2:3Protect all those on journeys today
8Mary and Joseph‘So Joseph went to the town of David because he was from the family of David. Joseph registered with Mary’ Luke 2:4-5Bless my family
9The baby arrives‘While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son’ Luke 2:6-7Be with those giving birth today
10A strange crib‘There were no rooms left in the inn. So she wrapped the baby with cloths and laid him in a box where the animals are fed’ Luke 2:7Help those who do not have a home
11Shepherds in the fields‘That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep’ Luke 2:8Bless those working night shifts
12Angels shining!‘An angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them’ Luke 2:9Please shine on us today
13Don’t be afraid‘The angel said to them, ‘don’t be afraid, because I am bringing you some good news!’ Luke 2:10Comfort us when we are afraid
14Christ the Lord!‘Today your saviour was born in David’s town. He is Christ the Lord’ Luke 2:11Open my heart to you
15Signposts‘This is how you will know him: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a feeding box’ Luke 2:12Open our eyes to notice you in surprising places
16Glory all around‘All the angels were praising God, saying, ‘give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace to the people who please God’ Luke 2:13-14Please let there be peace in the world
17First visitors‘So the shepherds went quickly and found Mary, Joseph and the baby’ Luke 2:16-17Help us to be eager to see you
18Everything changes‘Then the shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything that they had seen and heard’ Luke 2:20Give us thankful hearts
19Visitors from far away‘After Jesus was born, some wise men came from the East’ Matthew 2:1Thank you for wise people in my life
20Shining star‘When the wise men saw the star, they were filled with joy’ Matthew 2:10Fill us with joy this day
21Wonderful baby‘They went to the house...and they bowed down and they worshipped the child’ Matthew 2:11Bless our home
22Treasures for a tiny King‘They gave him treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh’ Matthew 2:11Help me be generous
23Prince of peace‘A child will be born to us. God will give a son to us. His name will be... prince of peace’ Isaiah 9:6Thank you that Jesus came to bring peace
24God loves you!‘For God loved the world so much that he gave his only son. God gave his son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life’ John 3:16Thank you that you love me

Comfort and Joy

The idea: 

In partnership with The Long Table, we will be distributing [frozen] Christmas lunches, cooked from scratch using ethically sourced, local produce in a pretty bag with lovely Christmassy items to families who are struggling at this time. We are partnering with our local schools, who have been overwhelmed by this act of kindness. Before the meals have even been made, blessings have been received!

The logistics

The wonderful Mary, who is part of St Laurence community, is coordinating the project; Holy Trinity, Stroud and St Matthew’s, Cainscross have both identified funds that can be used for just this sort of project; the meals will need to be put together in bags and we hope lots of people will join in by baking some mince pies, or hand making some cards, or decorating jam jars for tea lights, or anything else you would like to do to add blessings to the bags!

If you would like to get involved in any way, please contact Mary.

Plans for Christmas

This year, the national Christmas campaign will be ‘Comfort and Joy’, and my goodness, those are two things we need in spades this year. And they are two things our Good News delivers, beyond our wildest dreams!

We will have to think about Advent, Christmas and Epiphany in a very different way, but we are confident that different will not be worse. We are determined to focus on what can be, and let go of what can’t be, in order to be comfort and joy.

There will be trees and lights – prayer trees, for those in our communities to add their prayers and hopes; beautifully decorated buildings, hopefully inside, certainly outside.

There will be symbolic actions – giving food as an act of blessing; offering creative ideas for you to engage with in your homes.

There will be the real story – told in many different ways through our advent windows; in assemblies put together going out to primary schools across Stroud.

There will be silence and stillness – through our Stroud grown Contemplative Christmas; creating space to be still in our buildings.

There will be tradition, music and words – in our Nine lessons and carols; as we sing carols on our doorsteps.

Contact us through the links if you would like to find out or join in, and share with others!