Dear Friends

Most weeks in our churches the preacher will follow what we call the lectionary; the appointed readings of the day. The lectionary is shared by many traditions including Roman Catholics and Anglicans. From Advent Sunday December 1st the focus on a Sunday morning changes from Luke to Matthew’s gospel. The narratives of Jesus’s ministry and teachings, and then his journey to the cross are familiar but told with subtle differences and emphasises. Matthew (or sometimes called Levi) unlike Luke was Jewish. He was probably a tax collector on the road to Capernaum until Jesus called him to follow him. Matthew wrote his gospel for a predominantly Jewish audience and focuses on Jesus being the fulfilment of the Old Testament; even quoting from it 62 times. His purpose in writing to the Jews was to show that Jesus of Nazareth was the expected messiah and both his genealogy and his resurrection were legitimate proofs of this.

Matthew’s gospel tells us how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. We are told that the angel of the Lord appears in a dream to Joseph to take the already pregnant Mary as his wife. Matthew tells us that this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the prophet Isaiah. “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel.”

That is the heart of the Christmas message. The child born in a manger is Emmanuel; God is with us.

God is with those who face disaster

God is with those who have lost a loved one

God is with those who are suffering and/or in pain

God is with those who struggle with anxiety and depression

God is with those who are facing serious illnesses

God is with the homeless and those who have nothing

God is with US all. God is with us always.

This Christmas let us share with all the good news of the birth of the Christ child, called Emmanuel. God is with us.

Christmas Greetings to you all

Love and Peace

Mark

Message from Superintendent Revd. Mark Davenport