All Saints

Wickham Market

December 2023

December 3rd

Have you ever been told something that you thought was just too good to be true?

A piece of news, a promise, something you can’t quite dare to hope might just happen?

What do you do with that?  Do you tuck it away in your heart and tell no one?  Do you laugh it off as some sort of joke?  Or do you dismiss it straight away for fear that you might be setting yourself up for a huge disappointment?

When the elderly parents of John the Baptist were told they would at last have the child they had longed for all their married lives and, better still, he would grow up to be “great in the eyes of the Lord” and “prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah” (Luke 1:15-17), they just couldn’t believe how it could possibly happen!

As we start this season of Advent - the run up to the celebrations in memory of Jesus’ 1st coming - we are considering hope.  It is a brave emotion to have these days.  It involves believing that there really could be something better around the corner.  But with the daily headlines of war, violence and poverty and the threat of global disaster bringing ever-increasing states of despair, that does seem more like a dream that’s just too good to be true.

But the message of Christmas is that there is hope.  God has promised that things WILL get sorted; he has a plan and it’s no cruel joke.  One day soon, Jesus is coming back for a 2nd time, not as a baby but as a righteous and powerful ruler of his Kingdom.  And for all who are brave enough to hope in him, there will be no disappointment.

Will you dare to hope it could be true?


December 10th

It’s the 2nd week of Advent and we are looking at PEACE.  But what is peace exactly? The dictionary gives a number of definitions:

  • a time without war
  • the absence of noise
  • freedom from strife or dissension
  • when our hearts are untroubled by worry

It is a word that is often associated with Christmas - a time when arms are laid down and all becomes still and magical. But we know that is not reality.  In fact the run up to Christmas is probably the most frenetic and fraught time of the year full of noise, stress and conflict!

Looking again at the above definitions, they all describe the absence of something rather than the addition of something positive to our lives.  Perhaps the real peace that Christmas brings is in fact none of these things and not even a thing at all but a person.  A person who can bring an indescribable state of calm to our inner lives even in the midst of war, strife, trouble and noise. 

The Prince of Peace came to us at Christmas; that gift is as real and precious and attainable today as it was 2000 years ago.

Peace be with you!


December 17th


The third weekly theme for Advent is JOY. 

“JOY to the world!”  the carols say. 

“O come all ye faithful, JOYFUL and triumphant!”  “JOYFUL all ye nations rise!”  Wonderful words to get us all in the mood for Christmas aren’t they? 

Or maybe not…?

There are many nations just now that are very far from joyful.

There are many, many displaced, hungry, frightened and despairing people in the world who are certainly not feeling the joy.

Can even the ‘faithful’ muster ‘joyful’ “in this world of sin”?


Well I believe there is a reason that JOY is the third of our Advent themes.

The coming of Jesus has first of all given us HOPE (week 1).  Hope in God’s promises that something better WILL come.  From that hope, we can expect to experience a sense of calm, an indescribable PEACE within (week 2). 

And so having hope and knowing the peace of Jesus, CAN lead us to be joyful!

Joy rises out of hope, it is birthed from deep and lasting peace. 

We know that Christmas is not going to bring some fantasy, fairytale happy ending to a troubled year but joy faces reality with courage.

“God rest ye merry gentlemen

Let nothing you dismay

Remember Christ our Saviour

Was born on Christmas Day

To save us all from Satan's power

When we were gone astray

Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Comfort and joy

Oh tidings of comfort and joy”


December 24th

Are you a die-hard fan of all things Christmas, from the fake snow on the windows and the store of endless versions of mince pies in the cupboard to the larger-than-life blow up snowman on the roof?  Do you live in dread of forgetting to send a card to your ‘never seen’ 2nd cousin on your step-father’s side?  Or maybe you’re tiring of the hype of it all and wish you could just sleep through the whole thing!

If you could strip it back to be just what was most important to you, what would your essential Christmas look like?

I wouldn’t mind betting, top of most people’s list would be spending time with loved ones.  Because at the end of the day, everything else is pretty superficial compared to those special relationships in our lives.  Love for our folk and their love of us is what matters more than anything.  We are made to be in loving relationships, that is how we function best.  We are not meant to travel through life on our own; those who love us, look out for us and support us. 

In reality of course, many people do find themselves alone in life, for all sorts of reasons.  But the greatest gift that Christmas offers is a real, ‘present’ love-relationship with the Lord Jesus.  He is not like a distant, disapproving relative, whom you feel obliged to contact once a year, he sees you and he knows you and he loves you and he wants to support you.  In fact he came to earth at Christmas so that you would never have to be alone or feel unloved.

If you would like to know more, come along to one of our Christmas services (details on our website).  And if you find yourself alone on Christmas Day, you’ll find a warm welcome and a hot Christmas dinner in All Saints Church at 1pm.

Happy Christmas, with love.


December 31st


New year - new me?  How many of us will start this new year with new resolutions? 

“A new start is what I need!  A new lifestyle/hairstyle/diet/job” (delete as applicable!) Somehow, the start of a new year makes us think “now is the time I will manage to change!”  In reality of course, as we all know, most new year’s resolutions don’t see out the week!  But it does illustrate that a large majority of the population are dissatisfied with something about their life and are seeking either to change it or to improve it by introducing something new.  It’s odd that this follows just a week from Christmas when most of us will have received something new as a gift and yet still we seek more ‘newness’ in our lives.  Why?  Because new things or new diets or new hobbies, don’t satisfy that longing inside for something different, something better.  The search continues for the one thing that will bring us contentment at last.


When the prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna finally found Jesus, as Mary and Joseph brought him into the temple for ‘presentation to the Lord’ as their Jewish law demanded, their rejoicing was a real genuine celebration.  “At last!”  For the thing they had been searching for and waiting for all their lives had finally arrived and promised to usher in a ‘new’ era - the permanent change that Israel was seeking, true lasting fulfilment for the world’s emptiness and the promise of new life for everyone!


So the question we are left asking is “when the answer to new life was found and celebrated 2000 years ago, why are so many still searching?”

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