Dear Church Family
At our Sunday congregations during Advent this year we're focussing on some of the songs sung at the first Advent. It's really good to do that, as singing is at the heart of this season. That's why there's so much music and singing around this time of year. As I said last Sunday, we need to be encouraging this and leading this - singing our hearts out - as we celebrate all that God has done for us in sending Jesus Christ.
There'll be lot of singing in York Minster this Sunday evening, as we have our annual Carol Service. Do make sure you're there in good time, ready for a 7.30pm start, and we're so pleased that Bishop Graham Cray will be speaking and Riding Light Theatre Company performing. It's not too late to invite family and friends, and please pray that it's wonderful evening of comfort and joy, as we worship the Christ-child sent to save us.
We're also really pleased to have the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band performing a Christmas Spectacular concert in St Michael le Belfrey at 7.30pm on Thursday 15th December. This should be lots of fun and will be a different kind of Christmas experience to the Carol Concert - something very accessible to those who are not yet believers, and will include a short message about Christmas. You can buy tickets online or at the Parish Centre.
This coming week we'll be remembering with much thanksgiving the lives of Peter Gibson and Derek Wooldridge. Peter's Funeral Service will be this Tuesday (6th) at 11am, and Derek's Service of Thanksgiving will be on the Saturday (10th) at 1pm. At both services, amongst other things, there will be much music and singing as we celebrate lives well lived in the service of God.
I've often thought that the world would be a much duller place without music and singing! They are wonderful gifts from God that we can use at any time. Nevertheless, of all times of the year, right now is the time to sing, for this is the season for singing. I wrote a Discipleship Blog about The Season of Singing last weekend that you might find helpful, and another this week about adoration - singing from the heart our songs of love. That's what the Lord is calling us to do, particularly in Advent, as his Spirit fills us and spills out in song (Ephesians 3:18-20).
So let's sing our songs of love this Advent, with thanksgiving and joy. And then let's be sure our songs translate into practical action as we 'offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God'. This, the bible says, is 'true and proper worship' (Romans 12:1).