On the third Sunday in Advent our morning service was led by Mrs Carolyn Lawrence who was warmly welcomed by our chief steward Bunty Hodgkins. Bunty lit the third Advent candle with words which spoke of Joy – “today we light a candle of joy in the birth of Jesus”. It was a privilege to have Carolyn lead our worship and we began as we sung the ancient hymn for Advent “O come, O come Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appears”. Rod Smith played the organ.

Carolyn led our prayers of praise and adoration followed by our singing of one of Charles Wesley’s greatest hymns “Let earth and heaven combine, angels and men agree to praise in songs divine the incarnate Deity”. There were two bible readings, the first read by Bunty Hodgkins from Isaiah, chapter nine, in which the great prophet Isaiah, foretells the coming of a ruler “a child is born to us! a son is given to us!” The second, read by Rod Smith was from Matthew, chapter one, where the writer tells of the birth of Jesus, son of Mary.

Our prayers for others were wide ranging remembering so many who are in need at this present time both in this country and overseas, particularly the people of Ukraine, and other troubled spots of the world. Carolyn in her sermon spoke of the importance of names and finds that the meaning of a name often suits the character. She developed this theme as she described Christ as having the names ‘Jesus ‘and ‘Immanuel’. It was the angel who came to Mary to tell her she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit and that she was to have a son who will be called Jesus. “This is the Jesus who is worthy of our trust”, said Carolyn. But Christ’s other name is ‘Immanuel’, meaning God with us, and Carolyn explained that God came to truly identify with us and the wonder is that the great God appeared as a baby who lived among us. Jesus said, “never will I leave you or forsake you”. “If God is with us, who can be against us” said Carolyn in conclusion. Carolyn said a short prayer and we sang “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!” by Isaac Watts.