Christmas Letter from the Vicarage 2023

‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’)

Matthew 1v23 (NIV)

Do you ever feel like you’re on your own? Just you, no one else…  Do you ever fell like no-one is interested, that no-one sees you or hears you? Well, I’ve got news for you! Because, as we learn in Matthew chapter 1, God is with us: Immanuel.

The truth is, you are never on your own, and as it says in our communion prayer:

“Though we chose the path of rebellion, you would not abandon us.”

In fact, you became us! Again, as it says in our communion prayer:

“embracing our humanity, Jesus showed us the way of salvation; loving us to the end”

Have you noticed that it says “God with us” rather than “God with me”? That’s important. We are a family, and especially at Christmas we come together to celebrate the fact that God is with us. ALL of us, not just people who go to church.

And as we remember at Christmas that God actually IS with us, we realise that He is here, even at a time in our history where we see wars, famine, uncertainty about our future—not only our future but the future of the world. Christmas is something we do together with God. And it’s not just for children, it’s for everyone.

Our resident composer Matt Weeks wrote a beautiful song which we will be singing this Christmas called ‘Emmanuel’. Here is the first verse:

Expectantly we wait for you

You are a faithful God in all you do

Your promises have been fulfilled

When a baby boy was born to us

Was born to us

Lord Jesus Christ…

You can find the whole song and listen to the melody here:

We would love you to join us to celebrate the truth that God is with us and has not abandoned his own. One of my favourite parts of Christmas is our Christingle event on Christmas Eve in the afternoon, and the Midnight service, as we wait with anticipation and celebrate the greatest love of all, the love of God for us. Emmanuel.

There is a warm welcome waiting for you at St Mary’s. Our Christmas events are below, come and join us!


Revd Neil Lambert:

Christmas 2023: You are invited!

Saturday 25th Nov—Christmas at The Chapel on Wharf Rd: Join us 2pm-5pm for festive fun, amazing cake sale, raffle, free card making craft, second hand toys, clothes and more. Free admission.

Saturday 2nd December St Nicholas Day Lantern Walk (time slots start from 4pm): An atmospheric lantern walk from The Chapel on Wharf Rd to St Mary’s on Vale Rd, finishing with a bonfire party, hot chocolate and sweets from St Nicholas! Text / WhatsApp to book: 07730 609446

Sunday 17th December Carols by Candlelight 6.30pm: Come and share the joy of singing our favourite Christmas Carols by candlelight at this very special service at St Mary’s. Let’s rejoice! (free / donations)

24th Dec—Christingle Journey (time slots start from 3pm): Make Christingle, visit the Inn, see the Wise Men, stoke the shepherd’s bonfire, and get a selfie with baby Jesus! Not forgetting Revd Neil’s amazing pizza! Text to book 07730 609446 (Children’s Society donations welcomed)

24th Dec—Christmas Communion 11.30pm: Come and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and the first communion of Christmas.

25th Dec: Christmas Day Service  10:30am Join us to celebrate our Lord Jesus’s birth. Children welcome, why not bring along your favourite present to show & tell?

Christmas Donations: This year we are asking for donations of Christmas treats & gifts for local food parcels please, and we are fundraising for tree planting in Uganda as well as local refugees. To donate items for any of our projects please contact us, or you can follow this link and select a project to support by donation. Thank you!

Keeping in touch: Visit us at Community Cafe on Fridays 10:00-13:00, Sunday services at 10:30am  Email | Facebook @StMarysAshVale | Church Blog is available online here: and includes The Parishioner Magazine. Project Manager Tel.: 07730 609446

Have a blessed and happy Christmas!