A young girl called Mary who lives in a strict and conservative society has an angel tell her that she is about to find herself somewhat compromised – her reputation and upcoming marriage are about to get trashed by a mysterious miracle pregnancy. Her reaction? She humbles herself before God saying, “May it be done to me according to Your will” and then she is able to say, “The Lord has done this for me, He has shown me His favour and taken away my disgrace”. You can read all about it in Luke 1.
Nine months later, to the shepherds of all people, the mighty angels made the declaration, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests.” You’ll find this in Luke 2.
That word, favour, strikes me. It means showing goodwill towards, the giving of unmerited honour, inclining towards. It is often accompanied by gifts. And in these stories favour is directed toward the disgraced and the lowly – not toward the well off, successful or beautiful.
We’re used to bracing ourselves to be laughed at, told off, spurned or rejected - on account of our looks or age or awkwardness or intellect or ethnicity or weakness. It’s startlingly different when we approach the God of the universe. He offers favour. Awesome. This is our theme for the Christmas season in 2017: favour.
Please pray for and invite your friends and neighbours to celebrate Christmas and to hear a wonderful story of grace and favour, a story which transforms lives!
What’s happening over Christmas?
Christmas Service: 11.00am on Sunday 17 December, all ages celebrating Christmas together. Check the website for the dress code! Followed by festive lunch.
Carol Service: 7.30pm on Sunday 17 December. A traditional service of carols and readings followed by festive snacks.
Christmas Eve: 11.00am on Sunday 24 December. Weekly worship as usual.
Christmas Day: 11.00am on Monday 25 December. A short celebration for everyone.
We’d love to match up people who are on their own on Christmas Day with those who have a spare chair at the dinner table. If you would like to offer a festive feast – or if you would like to join with others for lunch or dinner – please do let firstname.lastname@example.org know.
New Year’s Eve: 11.00am on Sunday 31 December. Weekly worship as usual.
New Year’s Day: our traditional morning walk on Ilkley Moor.
If you know people in Headingley who wouldn't want to come to the Vineyard please give them the flyer with details of the other churches' services. And if you can think of places where they would display such information (e.g. the post office or a cafe) please take a supply.
Christmas is about giving not just receiving – but some people don’t receive much so if you would like to give something extra do join with us in supporting either the Child Contact Centre or in compiling your own reverse advent hamper for Leeds Foodbank. Full details here.
Extraordinary Current Leaders’ Meeting
If you are leading a group or an area of ministry at Leeds Vineyard I would very much like you to join us on Tuesday evening, if you possibly can, for a special meeting at which we’ll catch up about Vineyard House. If you haven’t received an invitation please contact the office for details.
The churches in Headingley are joining together to sing carols at the Arndale Centre on Saturday 9 December, 11.00am – 12.00pmish. Headingley Methodist’s Coffee Morning and Christmas Fair will be on across the road from 10.00am – 12.15pm (I’m told the cake is great!). All welcome to join in.
Leeds Vineyard has been approved for the “More Than A Book” programme with the Bible Society (www.biblesociety.org.uk). Our unique church reference number is: 12154. If you buy your books this way, the church earns a cashback. Nice.
As you may know, we gave thanks for my Mum’s life a few weeks ago. The day went well and we felt very supported by the prayers of the saints. Thankyou. As you may also know my Dad is rather ill too. Alison and I continue to be quite involved in his ongoing care and this takes its toll. Many of you will have experienced a similar strain and transition in your lives as you have lost loved ones, so you’ll understand. Bear with us.
May you know the favour of the King!