Light shone out from Ashley Methodist Church for our Christingle service on a snowy Advent Sunday morning. The theme was a journey. Rosalind Chatburn welcomed a church filled with excited children and adults and lit the first candle representing hope through God’s continuing love on our Advent wreath. Our preacher June Aldcroft began with a prayer of thanks for all our blessings and we repeated the Lord’s Prayer.

During Advent we follow a route to the humble stable in Bethlehem where the baby who would change the world was born. Children read passages describing the shepherds’ and wise men’s journeys of discovery. Then a procession of puppeteers representing shepherds, kings and animals followed a star while singing Going to Bethlehem. The puppets also mimed to the song Do you hear what I hear?

June talked of making plans for Christmas, how they can go awry as they did for all in the nativity story. Divine interventions caused all to set their eyes on Bethlehem. Amidst all the materialistic trappings of our Christmas celebrations we too should focus on that baby – the light of the world, the gift of love from God. Our prayers for the victims of conflict and deprivation followed.

We formed a circle with our lighted Christingles and sang Shine Jesus shine, accompanied by Jill Barnett on keyboard, and our service ended with a blessing.