Gwydyr Rd, Crieff, UK, PH7 4BS

Dear Friends,

The God of Surprises

Christmas is almost upon us again and the children are especially getting excited.  Most of them are looking forward to receiving presents, but according to the current John Lewis TV advert, at least one child can’t wait for Christmas because he wants to give a present to his very surprised parents.

There is something wonderful about unwrapping a present – our curiosity is aroused, we do our best to work out what is inside before we finally open it. We love having a good surprise, and in turn, giving other people surprises as well.

God loves giving surprises. Can you imagine how Mary felt when an angel appeared out of nowhere to tell her that she was going to have a baby – and that without an earthly father! The shepherds must have been shocked at the appearance of the angels in the sky announcing the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Throughout the Bible, God tends to turn up, unannounced and unexpected, to those who are hoping or longing for him. From Abraham on, the patriarchs and prophets told their stories of encounters with a God who surprised them with his intervention in their lives.

As I stood in the pulpit of the new Faifley church last Sabbath for the very first time, I was deeply moved by the way God continues to surprise us today. At the beginning of 2011 I had no idea that such a suitable building was going to come on the market at an affordable price. This church has become a wonderful present to this congregation and community, just before Christmas. Without it, the congregation would be meeting in a very chilly church.  Now, the members are excited at what God will do now to help them grow, serve and reach their community.

I wonder what good surprises God has in store for you in 2012?  Every day of the new year has the potential to bring small and big surprises for which we can rejoice and give thanks to God. Let’s remember as we pray for the year ahead, the message of the angel to Mary , ‘Nothing is impossible with God’ Luke 1:37! May the God of surprises, answer our prayers that you and all our members and friends will experience his serendipity (happy surprises) in our lives this year.

May God bless you richly as we rejoice at what Christ has done in 2011 and will do in 2012.

Pastor Bernie Holford