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Thursday, 29 November 2012

The non-possessive life of God

Have you bought your Christmas presents yet? Are you someone who buys throughout the year or someone who buys at the last minute? Have you also made your list of gifts you would like to receive? Christmas is a time for giving and receiving. As Lewis Hyde writes in his book entitled ‘The Gift’, “The spirit of a gift is kept alive by its constant donation”: “a cardinal property of the gift: whatever we have been given is supposed to be given away again, not kept. Or, if it is kept, something of similar value should move on in its stead … You may keep your Christmas present, but it ceases to be a gift in the true sense unless you have given something else away.”

The greatest gifts though are those where no return is expected by the giver. The shoebox presents prepared as part of Operation Christmas Child are like that. Gifts are chosen, placed in a shoebox which is wrapped and then sent to needy children in Africa and Eastern Europe. Operation Christmas Child gives those who grow up in relative wealth the opportunity to participate in selfless giving and show compassion to others - irrespective of creed, colour, religion, sex or ethnicity of either the giver or the receiver.

The man who pioneered mass production of motor vehicles, Henry Ford, said that the most successful person would be the one who would fill the greatest need the best. On this basis Jesus Christ remains the greatest person who ever lived because He made the greatest sacrifice to fill the greatest need for the greatest number of people. The sheer thought that God would send His Son to die for mankind, is amazing: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). 
David Runcorn writes that “the life of God is non-possessive, non-competitive, humbly attentive to the interests of the other, united in love and vision.” It is this that we see at Christmas as we celebrate the arrival of the greatest gift of all and it is also what we see at Easter as God’s greatest gift gives his own life for the sake of us all. Christmas is a time for giving and receiving gifts. May we, this Christmas, receive the greatest gift of all.

Here are the service/activities at St John's Seven Kings for Advent and Christmas:
December 2012
  • Saturday 1st Dec, 6.00pm, Tamil Carol Service
  • Sunday 2nd Dec, 10.00am, Advent Reflections Service poems, readings and songs
  • Sunday 2nd Dec, 6.30pm, Advent Service at St Peter’s Aldborough Hatch - Seven Kings Fellowship of Churches
  • Sunday 16th Dec, 10.00am, All-age Christingle Service - a colourful service of music & light (collection for The Children’s Society)
  • Sunday 16th Dec, 6.30pm, Service of Nine Lessons and Carols by Candlelight - traditional carols and readings
  • Tuesday 18th Dec, 7.00pm, Carol singing around the Parish - wrap up warm. Collecting for Haven House Hospice
  • Sunday 23rd Dec, 6.30pm, Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at St Peter’s Aldborough Hatch
  • Monday 24th Dec (Christmas Eve), 5.00pm, All-age Nativity Service - dressing up & tree lighting - fun for all. Bring a present to leave under the tree for children helped by Barnados. Collection to Haven House Hospice.
  • Monday 24th Dec (Christmas Eve), 11.30pm, First Holy Communion of Christmas
  • Tuesday 25th Dec (Christmas Day), 8.00am, Holy Communion - Book of Common Prayer
  • Tuesday 25th Dec (Christmas Day), 10.00am, Christmas All-age Holy Communion - children, bring a gift you have received to show others
  • Monday 31st Dec (New Years Eve), 11.30pm, Watchnight Service - welcoming the New Year in prayer and reflection
Bruce Cockburn - Cry Of A Tiny Baby.

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