Zetland Park Methodist Church Newsletters and Pastoral Letters
These are the most recent pastoral letters. We also have an archive of older letters you might wish to
December 2018 , November 2018 , October 2018 , September 2018 , July and August 2018
June 2018 , May 2018 , April 2018 , March 2018 , February 2018 , January 2018
December 2017 , November 2017 , October 2017 , September 2017 , July and August 2017 ,
June 2017 , May 2017 , April 2017 , March 2017 , February 2017 , January 2017
December 2016 , November 2016 , October 2016 , September 2016 , July and August 2016
June 2016 , May 2016 , April 2016 , March 2016 , February 2016 , January 2016
December 2015 , November 2015 , October 2015 , September 2015 , July and August 2015 ,
June 2015 , May 2015 , April 2015 , March 2015 , February 2015 , January 2015 ,
December 2014 , November 2014 , October 2014 , September 2014 , August 2014 , July 2014 ,
June 2014 , May 2014 , April 2014 , March 2014 , February 2014 , January 2014 ,
December 2013 , November 2013 , October 2013
Though Christmas is usually seen as the season for giving and receiving gifts, for
sharing food and fun with our families and friends - and let me say there is nothing
wrong with any of these - I suspect all of them miss the mark of that which is the
central core of the 'reason for the season'. I think the essence of Christmas is really
in what God did for us - no, not what he gave us! To give a gift is simply to hand over
of the ownership of something to another person - even if lots of effort is spent in
trying to choose the 'right' gift so as to convey the right message! God did not give us
Jesus - rather he sent him so as to do something for us. There is a popular saying that
people may forget your name, they may forget what you said, but the will never forget
how you made them feel. And how true this is and a reminder that it is what we do for
people that matters most!
When the child Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, was born in the back of a small town in Judea 2000 or so years ago, God did many things, not least to reach out to us and tell us how he feels about us. The child was born in a borrowed stable as there was no one willing to find a young mother-to-be a more appropriate place to give brith, which reminds us that God does not force himself onto anyone; we have to be willing to accept him, to make room for him. The child was born to ordinary working parents, which reminds us that God does not distinguish between class or status; no one is too lowly for God to love them! The birth of the child was not announced so that all would hear, but rather signs were given so that all could hear ... and respond, but only if they wished to!
In sending Jesus, what God did for us was to come to us, to live among us so that we might get to know him and see his love and care and concern for us.
If then, as I believe, this is the message of Christmas, it is a message which will live long after the turkey and mince pies have been eaten, long after family and friends have returned home and long after the decorations have been put away for another year; it is the timeless message - Emmanuel - God with us! Now how does that make you feel?
So as we move into and through the Christmas season I invite you to join in any of our activities and services and listen to the story again and discern for yourself just what God did for you and how that makes you feel. It should be a reason for joy, peace and hope, and maybe to raise within you the response of love toward God and those around you. And maybe you might even feel inspired to take up the Bible Society's Advent challenge to do 24 deeds of kindness during Advent so others too can feel they are blessed!
I wish you a blessed time this Holy season - happy Christmas. Arthur