Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Stories

     One of my favourite things about Boxing Day, is reading the new book I got for Christmas.  I love settling down with a good story and a turkey sandwich.
    But before I could read for myself, I loved listening to stories.  A constant cry in our house was "Mom, read us a story." I was reminded recently of the joy of being read to.  There's a unique relationship between the listener, the reader and the author that is quite wonderful.
So, for those of you who'd rather listen to a story than read one, here are some suggestions.

This one is a favourite of Rev. Irwin.
"The Shepherd" by Frederick Forsyth, read by Alan Maitland.

While we're with Mr. Maitland, you might enjoy listening to 
"The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry.

Stuart McLean's "Dave Cooks the Turkey," is a modern classic.  You can listen to a broadcast of the whole show here. 

Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol," is a standard for dramatic readings.  You can listen to Neil Gaiman read it here.

Of course, the greatest Christmas story of all is found in the second chapter of Luke.  Listen to it here, the in language of King James.

Happy Boxing Day.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The King's Story

The King’s Story
-- Sunday School Presentation Dec. 18, 2016

Carol:  We Three Kings

King 1: Friends listen to our story!

King 2: We have witnessed the most amazing event!

King 3: We are wise men from the east.

King 1: We have spent our lives studying the stars. For many years we have followed their
appearance and disappearance in the sky. They are our friends. Some are faithful and
never leave us. Some come and go through the changing seasons. There are times when
we have visitors in the sky you
may know them as comets or meteors. Sometimes there
are only one or two and sometimes, like the Perseids, they will go on like streaks in the sky
for days. These streaks in the sky are a marvel, but they pale in comparison to what we
followed to get to Bethlehem a
NEW star!

King 2: Through our studies of the ancient texts, we knew of the Jewish writings that spoke of a Messiah, a ruler that would come out of Bethlehem in Judah and would be ruler of all
Israel. We looked at where the star was and thought to ourselves “Could this be the great leader foretold in Micah?”

King 3: We knew we needed to follow the star. It was as if we were being pulled toward it. And so we set out on our journey. Excited by what we would find, we packed the finest of gifts.

King 1: As we approached Jerusalem and the star shone brightly, we asked people “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

King 3: We surprised King Herod. He didn’t know anything about the baby being born. In fact, no one in Jerusalem seemed to know about it.

King 2: He seemed concerned and consulted with the priests and teachers of the law. He wanted to know where this child, the Christ, was to be born. The teachers told Herod that the ruler of Israel would come from Bethlehem.

King 1: Well, you should have seen Herod! He became all friendly and wanted us to tell him everything. He seemed a little shady about the whole thing but he encouraged us to carryon our search. He directed us to tell him where the babe was so that he could come and worship him too.

King 2: Can you imagine what Herod would have thought if he had seen what we saw next!

Carol: #141 Away in a Manger v.1

King 1: We continued on and followed the star. It came to a rest over Bethlehem. Eventually we found the baby. Wow! You would not believe where!

King 3: He was in a hay stall yes
in the manger in a stable! Outside with the animals, and the
stars ,
King 2: ...and the Shepherds! There were shepherds! They told us their story.

Shepherds come charging down the aisle and sit in the front (We saw ANGELS! They were awesome,
amazing, terrifying, wonderful, beautiful)

King 2: Angels came to them and told them that a Saviour had been born and they would find him in a manger.

Angels come down the aisle: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the
people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah,the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a
manger.” 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” (From Luke 2  NIV)

King 1: They were so astonished that they left their animals to see what the excitement was. They arrived and found a baby! They were amazed!

King 3: This was not just ANY baby. There was something about this baby that was compelling.Something bigger than any of us.

King 2: He was tiny and vulnerable and weak
King 1: ...but he was peaceful and strong and pure at the same time.
King 3: He was expected
King 1: ...but unexpected
King 3: We gave him our gifts
King 2: I gave him Gold for the one who is born to be King.

King 3: I gave him Frankincense for the God who has come amongst us.

King 1: I gave him Myrrh for the one who was to die for us.

King 2: And yet…
King 3: ... they seemed insignificant.

King 1: We knelt down before him and worshipped him. It was overpowering. We were filled with joy and awe!

King 3: It seemed as if we had just been given the greatest gift under the sun.

Carol: #144 It came upon a midnight clear v.1

King 1: We came to find a king but we found a baby, born to a carpenter and a young girl in a stable. There to celebrate his birth were shepherds. (...and us!) and strangers. (...and Angels!) (The Angels were pretty awesome!) We followed the star and found the King, not where we expected but in amongst the beauty of His creation. This was no ordinary King.In the middle of the humbleness of the scene, there was a majesty and reverence
incomparable to anything we could ever have imagined. Immanuel had come. God was with us.

King 2: We have looked for the King and we have found him. Will you come and look for Jesus too?

King 3: Will you be surprised by his peace, his presence and his power?

King 1: Will seek to find what he has to offer YOU?

Carol:  #131 The First Nowell

Written by Diane Cunningham
Copyright December 11, 2016

Story based on the scriptures in Matthew 2 and Luke 2 from the NIV translation

Monday, December 12, 2016

'Twas Two Weeks Before Christmas

Advent is the season of waiting that the church observes in the weeks leading up to Christmas, a time of anticipation.  We wait with joy and hope and peace and love the coming of the Saviour.
It also seems to be a time of activity!
Last Sunday we had a carol sing in the sanctuary followed by tea and cookies -- lots of cookies. 

On Tuesday, it was shopping day at Tswassen Mills. 15 of us left Swartz Bay on the 9:00 am ferry. We were blessed with a beautiful bright, cold and crisp sunny morning. We enjoyed the relaxed time to visit and chat.
Once off the ferry, we connected with the free shuttle bus to Tsawwassen Mills Shopping Centre, arriving by 11:00 am.
We then all wandered off to check out around 200 stores and enjoy lunch.

For our return, we met the shuttle bus at 4:30 pm for the 5:00pm sailing. An enjoyable day out.

This Sunday, we brought white gifts to church -- treats for our shut-ins.  The gifts are presented anonymously in white paper.  Later they are placed in hampers and delivered to those of our congregation who are no longer able to come to the church.  We miss these folk, and Advent is a good time to spread joy into the lives of those around us.

Next week -- the Sunday School presentation.

Monday, December 5, 2016


by Janet Smith

Koinonia (koy-nohn-eé-ah) is a transliterated form of the Greek word, κοινωνία, which means communion, joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, etc. It identifies the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the Christian church, the Body of Christ.
Simply put, Koinonia is the Greek word for "fellowship" - the term early Christians used to describe their gatherings.

At Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church we have great fellowship/gatherings one with another. Each Sunday after the morning service we have coffee fellowship and our Fellowship Committee meets every other month to plan fellowship events.
We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, the joy of new comers to the congregation and in fact if there is any reason to celebrate, we do so.

We also like to fellowship in other ways, two such occasions are happening this week.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 6 December some of our congregation are taking a ferry trip to the mainland to Tsawwassen Mills Shopping Centre in Tsawwassen. We will be catching the 9:00 am ferry from Swartz Bay and when we arrive in Tsawwassen we will connect with the free shuttle to the shopping centre. We’ll visit together and eat together and shop together. It will be an opportunity to get to know each other in a deeper way. We will return on the 5:00 p.m. ferry.

Also, this week, on Friday 9 December @ 7:00 pm we are having a “Christmas Movie Night (with popcorn) and Shortbread Festival.
Everyone is invited to bring their best shortbread.  There will be a “people’s choice” award, and so no need for judges etc. but it should be fun to have categories like Scottish, novelty, whipped, healthy and so on.
We’ll share other refreshments as well as a good cup of tea or coffee and everyone is invited to come along to either or both of the above-mentioned events, we’d love to have you within our fellowship, a very warm welcome awaits you.

“Fellowship is a place of grace, where mistakes aren't rubbed in but rubbed out.
Fellowship happens when mercy wins over justice.”
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

Other Christmas events at SPPC:
  • Sun., Dec. 11, 10.00am -- White Gift Sunday
  • Sun. Dec. 18  10:00am -- Sunday School presents "The Christmas Story"
  • Sat.  Dec. 24 7:00 pm  -- Christmas Eve Service of Carols and Candles
  • Sun. Dec. 25 10:00am -- Christmas Morning worship service.