There is an old gospel song ‘This Train Is Bound for Glory.’ I’ve always loved it because it communicates the sense that a church is not a stationary building anchored to a plot of ground, but rather a powerful engine moving rapidly toward a fixed and exciting destination. The image is apt for Holyrood. I think a lot of us can hear the chugging of the Holy Spirit accelerating us with growing momentum in the direction of mission, witness, evangelism, and disciple-making.
Picking up on this movement, we all need to be prayerful and excited as we cross into the season of advent. In case you haven’t noticed already, we have a full schedule of events, all focused on the objective of making the light of this world visible to a people walking in darkness around Montgomery Street. My request to all of us as we approach these events is twofold. First, be excited. Let there be a contagious joy within the congregation as we move into a season of new faces stepping across our threshold. Second, be prayerful. The collective attitude of our church needs to be a humble admission that we can do nothing apart from the grace of the Lord Jesus. If humble prayer and missional excitement merge together, I have no doubt that the next month will be a time of rich blessing for the congregation.
Here is a calendar of events to be lifting up in prayer:
1 – Baby and Toddlers Nativity Play, December 11th, 3pm
One thing I love at Holyrood is that we keep the gospel front and centre. Thus, as much as we love serving the local community by providing a baby and toddler group, ultimately, our prayer is that people would learn about Jesus. As part of this aim, we are organising a Christmas event to enable families that come to the Monday group to hear more about Jesus. Ask the Lord that parents and carers would attend and that their heart would be receptive to the good news that Jesus is Lord.
2 – Carols by Candlelight in Montgomery Street Park, December 13th, 6:30-7:15pm
One of the problems with a lot of church events is that they require people to step inside of a church building in order to participate. On the 13th, we are going to flip the script. Instead of them coming to us, we are going to go out to them. The format is one that will delight a lot of people in the local community. First, we’ll sing carols in the park with the Salvation Army Band. Afterwards, we’ll go back into the church building for hot chocolate and mince pies. Please pray for the following things: (1) for the Mission Team as they pull together the plans for the event; (2) for the publicity of the event in the community; and (3) for the night itself – that the kingdom of God would break into the hearts of non-believers as we exalt the name of Jesus.
3 – HEC Carol Service, December 18th, 6:00pm
Carol services are the easiest invitation to a church event all year. They are a unique worship event that appeals to the nostalgia and festive spirit of non-believers. Let’s make use of the opportunity of our carol service. Do you have a burden for the soul of a friend, family member, or neighbour? If so, invite them out on the 18th. Also, keep the following prayer points in mind as the date approaches: (1) remember the music team and choir as they prepare for the event and (2) for my message – that I could communicate the hope and joy of the gospel to people who know very little about the person and work of Jesus.
4 – Christmas Day Family Service, December 25th, 10:30am
We are family in Christ. What a joy to be able to gather on Christmas Day itself to celebrate the birth of our Saviour. The service this year will be simple: we will sing some carols, have a time of family worship together, and rejoice in the forgiveness of sins and promise of eternal life which is ours in Jesus.
Note: there will be no evening service or home group meetings on December 25th or January 1st.
By Joe Barnard