The fourth Sunday in Advent was celebrated at Ashley Methodist Church with a lovely Nativity Service created by the leaders and children of our Junior Church. Jill Harrison welcomed a large number of parents and grandparents who had come together with our church members to celebrate the Season. She lit the fourth red Advent candle with words “Today we light a candle of love a love which shines in dark places reminding us that in Advent we think of God’s greatest gift to us, Jesus who shows us how to love”.

Keith Harrison opened the service offering condolences to the families of Brenda Rutter, a former church member, who had died in Canada, and a current church member Bill Ash who had died in his home, both in the past few days. Keith prayed for the families in his opening prayers of thanksgiving, thanking God for their lives of service to our church and the wider community.

We sang the traditional Christmas carols and the children led our prayers and readings as the children enacted the journey to Bethlehem of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.

The shepherds of the fields and the wise men following the star played their parts before Rosalind gave a short address based on Matthew’s gospel, chapter 18 in which Jesus, calling a little child to sit in the middle of those he spoke with, said “Truly unless you become as a little child you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven”. Simplicity of faith is what we need to find. Mary was carried by a simple donkey and Jesus was laid in a simple manger. Let’s put aside that which confuses and live our faith simply. Rosalind said a prayer for others after which we said the Lord’s Prayer.

Wishing you a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year from all at Ashley Methodist Church.