Thoughts for the Week: Advent

ADVENT for me is the beginning of an adventure leading to the birth of Jesus. Just as it was a change of life for many of the people who found themselves part of the coming of the Messiah into the world, it has also been the change throughout the years of people like us hearing about the Son of God and experiencing the love of God that Jesus brought into the world.
When we read Luke 1 v5-15 we become part of that adventure. We become part of the praying and the yearning of two good people, Zechariah the Priest and his wife Elizabeth, who had prayed and prayed for a special gift most of their lives.
Years of longing, hoping, waiting
Vacuousness aching to be filled
Destructive hopelessness, envy
Rising dangerously, heart stilled
By force of will.
That’s just part of a poem and I pause deliberately at the word ‘will’ because it seemed that the couple had continued to serve God by accepting His will that there would be no child in their elderly age; and yet we know that God had listened to their prayers and it was His will to eventually fill the years that had been saddened with what they possibly saw as emptiness, to joy and delight and even more with a special kind of service. As the account from Luke’s Gospel tells us, what that service was to be we have lessons to learn. Zechariah, in spite of his praying and praying, fell short of his weak faith by his unbelief of the message brought to him by the Angel Gabriel from God. It’s interesting to read how God dealt with his show of fear and unbelief. We’ve all probably heard the saying, ‘Be careful what you pray for’.
I recently read a prayer which said this, “God, we wish that you would break through the darkness and evil of this world, that you would show yourself.”
It then went on to list those things that the writer thought bad and suggested how God should deal with them.
Taking us all back to ADVENT once more, the wonder of the story of Advent and the birth of Jesus the Messiah, we know that God has broken through by sending His Son into the world to bring us out of the darkness, to come as the light of the world. Not only did he show himself through His Son, He told us what we must do to be part of the light. Jesus the Son showed the great love that His Father had for the world by sacrificing Him. Christ has brought us out of darkness to live in his marvellous light.
We cannot gather to celebrate inside our Chapels at present, but we can have more lights this year in our homes with Nativities on show or some pictures of the Nativity.
LIGHT A LARGE CANDLE where it is safe and take time to think about Christingle and the people around the world who are thinking about the coming of Jesus.
God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make us a people of this light. Make us faithful to you that we may bring your light to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord. AMEN.

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