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Sunday 7th January

Epiphany

10.00am Holy Communion

Wise Men Seek the King

Mike Bennett


Wednesday 10th January

10.00am Midweek Communion


Sunday 14th January

Second Sunday of Epiphany

10.00am Morning Worship

All Age Worship

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathaniel

Stephen Thorp


Tuesday 16th January

7.30pm Stephen’s Commissioning Service

As Rural Dean of Breckland Deanery

Right Revd Jonathan Meyrick,

 Bishop of Lynn



Sunday 21st January

Third Sunday of Epiphany

10.00am Alive@10,

All Age Worship

The First Sign: Jesus Turns Water

into Wine

Stephen Thorp


Sunday 28th January

Presentation of Christ in the Temple

10.00am Morning Worship

Presentation of Christ in the Temple

Brian Brown






WHO ARE YOU MISSING THIS CHRISTMAS?


There’s a quiet and wonderful hush as Mary and Joseph, holding hands, slowly walk to the front of the school hall, he with a large staff in his right hand and she clutching a small bag to her chest. The music to ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ gently fades into the background as Joseph knocks upon the door standing in front of him  - and as the innkeeper appears Joseph calls out in a loud voice ‘please sir, do you have any room where we can stay? For we have travelled a long way and my wife is about to have a baby!’ The innkeeper lets out a loud sigh and sadly shakes his head, but then after a momentary pause his face brightens up with a big grin as he politely and kindly directs them to a stable.


This wonderful and captivating scene has been played out by many generations of school children over the years watched by their proud parents, but it is also a scene that leaves a lot to the imagination and makes a lot of assumptions, for the Bible account never actually mentions the innkeeper, but simply says that after the birth of the baby Jesus ‘she wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn’ (Luke 2.7). The kindly innkeeper never actually features, but is strangely absent – missing!


Christmas is often said to be a time for children having fun and families getting together, but perhaps for some this biblical story actually reflects a present reality in their lives – perhaps because someone special, someone significant is missing and Christmas just isn’t the same without them. This could be because circumstances dictate that they can’t be present (such as serving in the armed forces or emigrated or away on business); or it could be because they have started a new chapter in their lives (such as young people leaving home or getting married leaving parents feeling isolated and alone); or it could be because of some sad circumstance (such as a divorce, a broken relationship or the death of a loved one). It’s at times like these when the love and support of family, friends and the community is so crucial, mutually encouraging people to appreciate that they are not alone, but cared for by the people around them – kind words and deeds which can mean so much and mirror the love that God has for us.


But perhaps for some the most significant missing person this Christmas, is Christ himself - which is such a shame because in the person of Jesus we meet with a God who loves and cares for us so deeply that he actually steps into this world of ours, and takes upon himself our humanity when he was born as a baby at Bethlehem. So no-one can say therefore that ‘God does not understand me’ because in Christ he has been there, done it and ‘got the T-shirt’. Our lives aren’t perfect and neither is the world in which we live, but in Christ we meet with someone who not only wants us to feel better but actually makes it possible for us to be better; loved, forgiven and at peace when we put our faith and trust in him. So, don’t miss out this Christmas because in Christ we have a friend who has promised to be with us, not just for today, or for tomorrow, but for always. Christmas just isn’t the same without him!


On behalf of myself and the parishes which I represent may I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.


Yours as ever


Stephen Thorp


“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,

and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)