Advent pots 2015


ADVENT POTS

Our pots are on view at the front of the church, and one will be added each day until Christmas.
Why not pop along and see them for yourself.

If this is your first visit to our Christmas story, please click here to start from the beginning of the story.

25 December - Christmas Day

Early in the morning, the time came for Mary’s baby to be born. She gave birth to a boy and they called him Jesus. Joseph had prepared the manger with fresh straw and Mary wrapped the baby in strips of cloth and held him in her arms before laying him in the manger to sleep. Joseph held Mary and marveled at the baby’s tiny hands. So perfect in the starlight, the soft dark hair, brown eyes just like Mary. The baby stirred and Joseph whispered to him.

The woman from the town had cleaned up and was about to leave when a group of shepherds appeared at the doorway. She was going to shoo them out - great smelly louts, couldn’t they see the girl had just given birth? Joseph moved in front of Mary and Jesus, ready to protect them. To everyone’s  surprise, the shepherds crept in, voices low and knelt by the manger. They told them what had happened on the hill side and what had been said about the child. Mary let them see the baby who stirred again, reaching out for comfort. The shepherds touched his tiny fingers. They returned to the hillsides singing praises to God for everything they had seen - it had been just as they had been told.  

Shortly after, a group of visitors from the East slipped quietly into the stable. They were travel worn and dusty but even in the candle light, they were obviously rich. They too knelt at the manger and gave Mary presents for the baby - Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Mary wasn’t quite sure what to do with the presents, but thanked them nonetheless. They explained what had happened and why they had come. As daylight dawned, the wise men crept away into the shadows. They knew now what Herod was up to, having been warned in a dream and planned to go home by a different route, so Herod would not find the baby.

Mary and Joseph praised God and held their new born son. It was hard to imagine he was Emmanuel, Saviour, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace. He was so tiny, just like any other baby, yet so much had happened. They knew he had been born for everyone, but he was still their son, to look after and love and keep safe. Mary remembered all that had happened, for this was just the beginning.

“Unto us a Child is Born, Unto us a Son is given, and the Government will be upon His shoulders. He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty Father, Prince of Peace. His reign will last forever”.

“Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news. Today is born for you a Saviour who is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

“Reach out to me, that you may live in a new way. I offer you life. Take my hand. I will be with you always”.

Planting

Christmas tree - to celebrate God with us and everlasting life

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24 December -Christmas Eve

Morning

It was just after dawn and Mary was starting to panic. She had little idea about babies and how they arrived, but the pain that had started as an ache was getting worse. Maybe she was just lying awkwardly. She wanted to wake Joseph but he was so tired, maybe she could wait a little longer. Joseph turned in his sleep and Mary reached for his hand. 

It was light now and the inn was starting to get busy. Joseph was up, organising breakfast. He was about to tell Mary he was going round all the inns again, in the hope of finding a spare room somewhere, when he looked at Mary’s face and realised - there was no time to look for anywhere else, he needed to find help. He didn’t want to leave Mary on her own, but he had no choice. He ran to find the innkeeper and pulled him to one side. The inn keeper fetched his wife - these things were better left to the women. His wife knew a woman in the town who might help and sent a servant with a message. Mary paced up and down, sitting, walking, lying, trying to get some relief from the pain. Joseph rubbed her back and prayed, harder than he had ever prayed before, that his Mary would be all right.

Evening

The day was coming to an end. As the light faded, Mary’s pain increased. The local woman said she was doing well and it wouldn’t be long but how long was long? Mary didn’t think she could take much more. Mary was so tired and the pain was so bad. She clung onto Joseph’s hand and prayed for the pain to stop. 

Out in the fields, the shepherds were gathered round the fire, watching and listening as usual. The light seemed odd tonight, it was strangely unsettling. Was that a wolf or just the sheep moving? That star, the new one they had only seen for a few days, it seemed brighter than usual. Afterwards, none of them could quite explain what happened next.  

It was like they were surrounded by light, a warm light and voices, telling them not to be afraid. They were terrified! Again the voices said not to be afraid, for they had good news. A baby would be born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David. He would be a great King and would save his people. The baby was Christ the Lord. He would be born for them, even shepherds, and for all people. To prove it, they should go down into the town where they would find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger. The singing seemed to get louder and louder - “Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased”.

Then the light faded and the shepherds looked at one another. Was that real? Had they all seen it? The singing - it was so beautiful. What should they do? They couldn’t ignore it. They would have to go down into Bethlehem and see if this was true.

“Arise, shine, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon you”.

Planting - 

Arbutus (or Strawberry Tree) red for the pain of the birth, red Hellebore for Joseph, white hellebore for Mary.

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23 December - The Stable

Joseph and Mary tried all the inns again and pleaded for somewhere, anywhere, to stay. The night was closing in and it was starting to get cold. One innkeeper, seeing the exhausted girl and the desperate man now practically holding her up, took pity on them. “I have a stable round the back” he said, “You can stay there if you want. Its not much but its warm and dry”. Joseph would have said yes to anything by now, just to sit down out of the wind.

The inn keeper bought out some blankets and food and water. The straw wasn’t too bad with a blanket over it and it was such a relief to sit down. “I’m fine” Mary told Joseph. “Just tired, that’s all. I’ll be all right after some sleep”. She didn’t like to tell him the back ache wasn’t going away. “We will find somewhere else tomorrow”, Joseph reassured her. “Its just for tonight”.  

“I will be with you when you go through deep waters. I will never forget you. Your name is written on the palm of my hands”.

Planting 

Stable, yellow primulas for the star.

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22 December - Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem

Mary and Joseph arrived at the town gates. Bethlehem was packed - it was hard to walk along the narrow streets. Joseph suggested Mary sit by a well, while he went off to find somewhere to stay but Mary was too afraid she would lose him in the crowd. Joseph was worried she would get jostled but Mary was determined they should stay together. They found Joseph’s relatives but when they saw Mary and realised they were not married, no one wanted them in the house.  

Mary was exhausted. Her back ache was getting worse. Joseph was worried and trying not to show it. Mary was leaning on him more and more, sometimes they had to stop while she caught her breath. Every inn they tried was full. No one had any rooms. Where was God when you needed Him? Surely He would not abandon them now.

“Take my hand and step out into the realm of freedom. Give your concerns into my love”

Planting - Vibernham tinus with pink flowers for Mary. Hebe purple leafed “Midnight Sky”, variegated Hebe “Heartbreaker” and red berried Gaultheria procumbens. Red and purple for the worry of finding somewhere to stay and the impending birth in a strange place with no support. Joseph feeling responsible for looking after Mary. The heartbreak that Mary would eventually suffer at the cross. The star in the night sky that has been guiding and the angels that will appear in the darkness.

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21 December - Shepherds

In the hills above the town, there were shepherds taking care of their sheep. They had to stay with the flock at night and protect them from wolves, sleeping across the entrance to the sheepfold. During the day, they would move the sheep to fresh pasture and cool streams to drink. Sheep being sheep, there was always one that wandered off and got stuck and needed rescuing.  

No one wanted to be around shepherds. For a start, they smelt of sheep. The pay wasn’t good and after paying all the taxes there wasn’t much money left. The Roman soldiers weren't above taking sheep when they wanted either. Shepherds tended to stick together, keep out of the way of the rest of the town.

It was a cold night on the hill side and the shepherds huddled round the fire for warmth, their cloaks wrapped around them. The town was full with everyone arriving for the census. The sound of partying drifted up from the streets, the packed inns were doing a good trade. The shepherds listened to the night sounds and watched for movement in the dark. It was difficult to stay awake sometimes.

“I lay down my life to save you as a shepherd lays down his life to save his sheep”. 

Planting

Green hillsides, white for sheep and orange/purple violas for the shepherds around the camp fire.

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20 December - The Wise Men travel to Bethlehem

Herod called together his advisors and asked them, “Where will this new King be born?” His advisors answered, “The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. The prophets wrote, ‘Bethlehem, out of you will come a leader who will guide my people’.”

Herod called the visitors from the east to a secret meeting and found out the exact time the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, telling them, ”Go and make a careful search for the child and when you have found him, let me know, so that I may worship him also”.

Herod did not really want to worship the new King, he wanted to find him and kill him but the wise men were too engrossed in their charts and their journey to see what Herod was like. They followed Herod’s instructions and set out on the short journey to Bethlehem. The star seemed to be moving in that direction too and they followed it into the town and started to make enquiries about any recent births. 

“I am the bright and morning star”

Planting

Yellow stemmed Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’, yellow Primulas for the light of the star. Red and purple for the wealth of the wise men and the presents they were bringing.

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19 December - Herod

At last the wise men from the east approached Jerusalem. From the hills above, the City glinted in the sunlight, tall columns and battlements and at the centre the Temple and Herod’s palace. One last stop to wash and change into their finest robes and prepare a speech. Then down into the city, through the gates and into the outer courtyard of the palace. Its hard to say who was more surprised - Herod’s servants at the procession into the courtyard, or the wise men, finding no evidence of a royal birth. When they enquired about a new king, they were taken to see Herod. “Where is the baby born to be King of the Jews” they asked him. “We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him”.

Herod was furious. He hid it from the wise men, welcomed them, saying he would consult with his advisors. In secret he vented his anger -“I am the rightful King, appointed by the Roman Senate, no new King is going to take my place!” News of the travellers from the east spread quickly and the people of the city were worried. The Romans would consider a new King a challenge to their authority. There would be war and persecution and life would be even harder. Herod was disliked, but there was no guarantee a new king would be any better or reduce the taxes. As least they knew where they were with Herod.

“My Kingdom is not of this world”.

Planting

Nindina Domesstica “Firepower” - red for Herod’s anger. Also called “Heavenly Bamboo” and used to decorate temples. 

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18 December - Mary and Joseph prepare to travel to Bethlehem

Lots of people were travelling to Bethlehem for the Census and Mary and Joseph found a group to travel with. It was too dangerous to travel alone, with robbers and wild animals. Wolves they said, in the hills. It would take at least four days, maybe a week if Mary could not travel as fast as some.  

Joseph was hoping they could stay with his relatives when they arrived. The town would be packed and it would be difficult to find somewhere to stay. Mary was worried about the journey - she was tired enough at home and her back ached so. She was worried too that they would not return home in time for the birth. It had been hard enough finding a midwife to help in Nazareth – most did not want to be associated with an unmarried mother. It would be harder still in a town where they hardly knew anyone, especially in an emergency. She could only trust God and hope it would somehow be all right.

“Call to me and I will answer you. Even before you call, I will answer you.”

Planting

Euphorbia martini “Ascot Rainbow”.  Purple as Mary is worried but a rainbow for God’s promises. 

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17 December - The Census

Back in Nazareth, Mary and Joseph were also preparing for a journey.  Augustus, the Emperor of Rome, had ordered a Census to be taken, in order to register people for more taxes. Everyone had to register at their home town and give details of their land and property and who lived there. As Joseph was a descendant of King David, even though it was hundreds of years ago, he had to register in Bethlehem, the city of David. Mary had to come as well, despite being heavily pregnant. 

“At least I will be away from all the whispers and the stares”, thought Mary. Most people shunned her when she went out. Joseph might believe her but they had not dared tell anyone else the truth. No one could understand why Joseph didn’t just marry her quietly or break the engagement. It wasn’t what they expected of Joseph, such a good carpenter. So well respected in the town – or at least he had been. Mary too – such a sweet girl. Who would have thought it? 

“I will not fail you”

Planting

Yew for Joseph, pink berries and white hellebore for Mary

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16 December - The Journey and The Star

The Wise Men set off on their journey with camels piled high with luggage. For months they travelled across desert and mountains. Dry, arid landscape, hot at day and cold at night. Water was rationed. Bandits, robbers and wild animals were always a threat. It was a hard journey, one problem after another. Several  camels went lame and they had to stop while they recovered. They tried to travel in the direction the star seemed to be moving, but it was not always possible to follow the star in a straight line. There were mountains and valleys, crevices and rocky outcrops. Often they had to divert from the direction of the star in order to find a track the camels could manage.  

Sometimes they wondered if they should stop and go back. Maybe they were wrong. Maybe this journey was just a waste of time and there would be nothing at the end of it. Night after night, under a sky ablaze with stars, they discussed it. Could they have miscalculated their charts?   

Every night the star seemed to shine brighter and still it seemed to lead in the direction of Jerusalem.  

“The sun will no longer be your light by day nor the moon by night. The Lord your God will be your everlasting light.” 

Planting

Brown grasses to represent the Camels. Pebbles, to represent desert.  Yellow Violas for the star and the star shinning ahead.

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15 December - Presents

The wise men started to plan their journey.  It was too dangerous to travel alone, but they could not reveal their real reason for travelling as that was dangerous too.  They organised a large party of servants to travel with them, plenty of food and water and their finest clothes to change into when they were presented to the king. 

They would have to take presents of course.  You couldn’t just turn up and demand to see a great  King.  Only special people would be allowed to get anywhere near.  There were bound to be servants and guards.  They would need money and gifts to buy entry.  Gifts that were small enough to take with them hidden in the luggage, but valuable.  What did you buy a King?

Gold for a royal birth.  Frankincense, a perfume used in worship. Myrrh, an expensive perfume.  It was important the gifts were expensive and suitable for royalty. 

“I will never turn away anyone who comes to me”.

Planting - presents and gold, purple and red primroses for the royal presents.

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14 December - The Wise Men

Meanwhile, far away in the east, lived men who studied the stars and thought deeply about the past and the future.  They studied charts and calculated the movement of the stars. They saw a new star, rising in the east.  In their calculations, this star signified the birth of a new king, a king so special that there would be no one else like him. 

They checked and double checked their charts and discussed it for months. There was no doubt about it. Something significant was going to happen and they had to be there to see it. Although it would be a long and dangerous journey, they had to visit this King and worship him.  

They calculated from the movement of the star that he would be born somewhere around Jerusalem. This made sense, since a King would be born in a palace and the palace in the capital city of Jerusalem was the most likely place.  

“I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last”.

Planting

Three mini Christmas trees decorated - for the three wise men.

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13 December - Joseph’s dream

Joseph lay awake, trying to work out how to break the engagement without anyone knowing the real reason.  It was nearly dawn, he was going to have to think of something soon.  He was so tired….   

He woke with  start - was that real or had he dreamt it?  He  thought he had dreamt that a stranger told him that Mary’s story was true, that he should not be afraid to marry Mary.  She had not broken her promises to him.  She would give birth to a son and they should call him Jesus and he would be called Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us’.  

He must tell Mary as soon as possible.  How this was going to work he had no idea, it was hard to take it all in.  He could only hope that if God was doing all this, He had a plan for the rest. 

“Do not be afraid, I am with you. Your sadness will be turned into joy.”

Planting - light green and bronze

As Joseph listens to God his desolation is turning into trust and belief in what God is doing.

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12 December - Joseph finds out

Joseph was devastated.  He could not believe it - Mary was expecting a baby.  His Mary - after all she had promised.  Not only that, but she had lied to him - a stupid story about a stranger who must be an angel and the baby being the Son of God.  Did she really think he was going to believe that?  No wonder she had stayed away for three months - better she had never come home than this.   

The wedding would have to be cancelled of course.  All his customers would know, all the village would know.  They warned him she was too young, too pretty.  Some in the village would want Mary stoned, especially as she refused to admit who the father was and stuck to  her  ridiculous story.  Even if he could protect her from that,  Mary would be publicly disgraced.  He might be angry and hurt, but he couldn’t do that to her, he just couldn’t.  Somehow he would have to find a way to break the engagement quietly, in private and Mary would have to move away, where no one knew her or knew what had happened.  

“Do not let your heart be troubled. I give you my peace.  Be merciful as your Father in heaven is merciful.”

Planting

Purple Heuchra and one white hellebore.  Purple to represent Joseph’ sadness, anger, desolation.  One white Hellebore as even though he felt betrayed, he still loved Mary.

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11 December - Joseph is worried

Joseph was getting worried.  Mary was only supposed to be away from a few days.  She had sent a letter saying she was going to say for longer as Elizabeth needed help as her pregnancy progressed, but he wasn’t sure he believed the reason.  Mary had been acting so strangely before she went away.  He began to wonder if she was regretting the engagement.  

Still, Mary was due back tomorrow.  He was sure it would be all right again once she was home.  He had nearly finished building the house.  Maybe they should get married sooner than planned, perhaps a quiet wedding, less stressful for Mary.  He would talk to her about it tomorrow - he was so looking forward to seeing her again. 

“Do not be anxious about tomorrow. Even the hairs on your head have been counted.” 

Planting

Twisted red and green - that knotted feeling when you are worried about something and hoping it will be all right. 

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10 December - Mary and Elizabeth 

Mary arrived at Zechariah’s house and greeted them both. Elizabeth looked at her oddly and ushered her inside, claiming Mary must need a rest and a cool drink after her journey.  

As soon as they were alone, Elizabeth hugged Mary and told her she knew that Mary was pregnant.  Mary told her what the stranger had said and after her own experience, Elizabeth believed Mary’s story was true. “You are so blessed”, Elizabeth said, “and blessed is the child you will bear”.

Mary was so relieved that someone believed her. She began to understand what had happened and started to understand what this would mean. “My heart praises the Lord” she sang, “My soul is glad because of God my Saviour.  From now on all generations will call me blessed”. 

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about for three months  and they talked long into the night about the future and how exciting it was to be a part of God’s plan.

“Rejoice in what I am bringing about.  I am making everything new.”

Planting

White flowered Camilia, blue Violas, white Hellebores - the Magnificat - Mary’s song of praise

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9 December - Elizabeth

Elizabeth was married to a priest called Zechariah.  They had been married a long time but had no children and they were both getting old. 

One day when Zechariah was in the temple, in the most holy part of the Temple where only the priests were allowed to be, a stranger appeared by the altar. Zechariah was terrified, but the stranger said to him, “Do not be afraid, God has heard your prayer and your wife Elizabeth will bear a son.  You are to name him John. He will be a great man and will announce the coming of the Lord”.  A few months later Elizabeth became pregnant and she was now in her sixth month.

“Light has come into the world.  Choose the light.”

Planting

Cornus “Midwinter Fire”, orange Violas - like the burning bush, it symbolises the presence of God.  Moses sees something that looks like flames coming from a bush.  We stand on Holy ground. 

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8 December - Mary tries to understand

“Was that real”? thought Mary, “or was I dreaming”.   She wanted to tell someone what had happened but she was too scared.  She was sure no one would believe her.  They would think she was mad, or worse.  Yet she felt so close to God, so loved, so happy.  Such a combination of joy and excitement that she wanted to dance.  She didn’t know how much longer she could hide the joy, or cope with the fear. Telling anyone was impossible.  No one would understand.

The stranger’s words kept going round in her head. She couldn’t sleep, she couldn’t eat. Even Joseph noticed she was distant and preoccupied and asked her what was wrong.  Kind and generous though he was and much as she loved him, how could she possibly tell him this?  Easier to pretend she was just tired with all the wedding planning.  

“Maybe you need a break”  Joseph suggested,  “a few days away somewhere”.  Suddenly Mary remembered what the stranger had said about Elizabeth.  If that was true, maybe this wasn’t a dream and Elizabeth would understand.  Pretending she just needed a break and wanted to visit her cousin, Mary quickly packed a few things and made arrangements to travel to the town in the hill county of Judea where Elizabeth lived.

“I will hold you by your right hand”

Planting

Red autumn flowering Cameillia “Yuletide”, red berried wintergreen, red and green tinsel. 

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7 December - Mary agrees

Mary was so shocked she was speechless for a moment.  “How can this be” she said to the stranger.  “I am not married yet and how can any child of mine be a King?”    

The stranger answered “God’s power will rest upon you.  For this reason the child will be called the Son of God. Remember your cousin Elizabeth.  It is said that she can not have children but she is now six months pregnant.  There is nothing that God can not do’ .  

“I am the Lord’s servant”  Mary said, “may it happen as you have said” and the stranger disappeared.  

“It is I, do not be afraid.  My love is unshakeable and instantly accessible”

Planting

Red stemmed cornus, red violas and red foliage sheltering variegated osmanthus.

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6 December - Emmanuel

Mary was busy updating the guest list (Joseph would keep adding to it!) when she suddenly became aware of a stranger at the door.   Mary jumped, she had been so engrossed she had not seen him approaching.  She was about to ask him what he wanted when the stranger said, ”Peace be with you!  The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you”.  

Mary  stared at the stranger. She started to feel frightened.  In the silence she could hear her heart pounding, what on earth did he mean?   What sort of blessing?  Who was he?

The stranger continued “Don’t be afraid Mary, God has been gracious to you.   You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God, Emmanuel, which means God with us, and his Kingdom will never end”

“ I have called you by name”.

Planting

Yellow Mahonia, yellow violas, gold and white  - representing the wedding Mary was planning and the presence of an Angel.

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5 December - Joseph

Joseph was the village carpenter.  He was a good carpenter and a kind man who always tried to do what was right. He made furniture and tools, shaped timbers to build houses, made ploughs and yoke for the oxen.   He came from a good family - he could trace his ancestors back hundreds of years to King David and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Of course no one took any notice of that, but it was a good party piece remembering all the names. 

He had built up his business over the years and was well respected in the town.  He had a reputation for good quality work at a fair price and his workshop was always busy.  When he fell in love with Mary, he was afraid she would think he was too old.  When he was that age, anyone over 25 seemed ancient!  However their love had deepened and now they were engaged and planning the wedding.  His customers asked abut the wedding every time they came to the workshop.  He would have to invite them all -  he would need to give Mary a list!  Talking of lists, he was responsible for ordering all the food and wine - better make a list to be sure he ordered enough. He would work hard and give Mary the best future he could.  

“Drawn by me, with bonds of love”

Planting

Wood, red Skimma, Ivy

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4 December - Mary

In the small town of Nazareth in Galilee, a young woman  called Mary was busy planning her wedding.  She was engaged to be married to Joseph.  He was the local carpenter with a good business and a little  older than her.  Her family thought it a good match with a secure future.   Mary did too, but more than that, she was in love. The more she got to know Joseph, the more she fell in love with him.  He was kind and generous and she was looking forward to making a home with him.  However she was still young and now they were engaged they could take their time and plan it properly.  There was so much to plan!  What to wear, who to invite, how many bridesmaids.  The wedding party would last a week or more, the whole village would be invited not to mention relatives she hadn’t seen for years.  

Mary was practising her cooking. With all the special food and preparations for the festivals there was a lot to learn.  She loved all the festivals, but especially the Passover when the children hunted for pieces of bread that had been hidden and all the family gathered to recite God’s blessing and promises.  She was determined to be a good wife, a good mother too when the time came, although that was too far in the future to worry about yet.  

“Look at me and let my peace enfold you”

Planting

Blue and white Hebe, white Skimmia, white Hellebore, blue Violas.  Mary is often shown wearing blue and white to symbolise purity and tranquility.

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3 December - Why?

Wars,  violence, hunger, debt, homelessness, illness, fear, death. Life seemed more about grief and sadness than joy. 

God had promised to send a King who would bring a new way of living.  He would bring good news to the poor and heal the broken hearted.  He would comfort those who mourn, giving joy and gladness instead of grief, a song of praise instead of sorrow.   He would wipe the tears from their eyes.  Fear, darkness, sin and grief would be overcome by love.

Every year at the Passover festival, Jewish families gathered to  remember God’s blessings and promises.   They ate special food to remember the past and God’s promises for the future. Unleavened bread to remember there had been no time before the flight from Egypt to wait for the bread to rise. Wine to symbolise joy at their freedom. An extra cup of wine was placed on the table and the door opened for Elijah to come to announce the coming of the Messiah, the special King.  But every year  the meal ended with “Next year in Jerusalem”.  How long would they have to wait? 

“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son”.

“I have come to give you life, abundant life in all its fullness”.

Planting - red berried Wintergreen inside a red tinsel heart and white Violas and Mistletoe - for love

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2 December - Place

Bethlehem in Judea.

In Hebrew, Bethlehem means “house of bread”.  It is located in a mountainous area, about six miles south west of Jerusalem.  

King David was born and lived in Bethlehem.  It was the City where he was crowned King of Israel around 1002 years before the birth of Christ - 3017 years ago from now. 

“Bethlehem, you are one of the smallest towns in Judea, but out of you will come a great leader, whose family line will go back to ancient times.   He will rule with strength and majesty. People all over the earth will acknowledge his greatness and he will bring peace” (Micah, written around 700 years before the birth of Christ). 

Woking 

A town in the South-east of England, 23 miles south west of London. 

“You are precious in my sight”

Planting

Heathers and Olive tree.  Olive Trees grow in Bethlehem and Heathers grow on Woking heathland. 

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1 December - Time

2015 years ago 

Herod was King of Judea, Quirinius was Governor of Syria and Augustus was Emperor of Rome.

The Jewish people had suffered hundreds of years of oppression.  Now there was added resentment at Roman rule and taxes.  Income taxes, food taxes, land taxes, transport taxes, purchase tax, customs duties, a poll tax.

For over 700 years, they had been waiting for a great King, promised by God.  Prophets said this King would be born in Bethlehem and live in Nazareth. He would be called “Emmanuel” or “God with us”.  He would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and King David.   “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light, those who live in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light will shine. The yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, will be shattered.  They will be full of joy and rejoice.  A child will be born, a son will be given and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever”. 

2015  “I am.  I do not change.  I love you with an everlasting love.  I am with you always, until the end of time”

Planting - Thyme, Holly and Ivy.  Evergreen plants are used as decorations at Christmas to symbolise  eternal life

 

 

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