Archive for December, 2016

Spirit and Song : a Christmas message

Posted: December 25, 2016 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

Last Sunday, Left Bank Leeds was taken over by a merry chaos, as hundreds of people took part in Messy Christmas and Beer and Carols.

It was a wonderful afternoon with a great atmosphere, but something particularly special happened for me during Beer and Carols.

I have always loved singing the old festive favourites, but last week was the first time they have touched my spirit and truly felt like worship.

Perhaps it was the slightly less formal setting that did it, but I was more aware than ever before of just how much theology is packed into those familiar songs, and just how powerful they are as declarations of faith.

Glorious now behold him arise, God and King and Sacrifice

Hail the incarnate deity, pleased as man with man to dwell

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight

As I belted out those words with all the tuneless enthusiasm of a toddler, I was struck again by the beauty and the strangeness of the Christmas story.

A tiny baby who is God made flesh, the epicentre of all of history and humanity, who will live and die and live again to show us the Father’s heart.

However you spend this Christmas Day, may you find a new sense of wonder and worship. Like the best Christmas gifts, it may just take you by surprise.

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Jesse Blog #25 – Jesus

Posted: December 25, 2016 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. ~ John 1:14

Advent ultimately draws us to Christ, the baby who is God incarnate. May the strangeness and beauty of that truth enter your hearts and bless you this Christmas.

Jesse Blog #24 – Joseph

Posted: December 24, 2016 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

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In those days and at that time, I will raise the true branch of David’s line, and he shall do what is just and right in the land. ~ Jeremiah 33:15

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David. ~ Luke 2:4

Advent reminds us that even those who are so often overlooked are important to God, as it was through Joseph that the prophecies about the line of David were fulfilled.

Jesse Blog #23 – Mary

Posted: December 23, 2016 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

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Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. ~ Isaiah 7:14

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”. ~ Luke 1:46-47

Advent brings us to Mary’s song, and the joy of serving God as he moves in love and power.

Jesse Blog #22 – John the Baptist

Posted: December 22, 2016 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

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A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” ~ Isaiah 40:3

John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. ~ Mark 1:4

Advent appears as a voice in the wilderness, calling us to prepare for the coming of Christ by turning our hearts and lives towards him.

Jesse Blog #21 – Nehemiah

Posted: December 21, 2016 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

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Let thy ear be attentive, and thy eyes open, to hear the prayer of thy servant which I now pray before thee day and night. ~ Nehemiah 1:6

You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. ~ John 14:14

Advents calls us back to the promise that our prayers will be heard and answered, even if the answer doesn’t always seem to resemble the question.

Jesse Blog #20 – Habakkuk

Posted: December 20, 2016 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

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Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. ~ Habakkuk 3:2

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written [in Habakkuk 2:4], “The righteous shall live by faith.” ~ Romans 1:17

Advent reminds us that in Christ we have a reason to live by faith, even in those times when all we feel we can do is cry out for mercy.