'Advent Sunday'

Sunday Reflection

29th November 2020

'that we may be saved'

'Restore us, O God;
 make your face shine on us,
 that we may be saved."

..... Psalm 80:3

Today Is the first day of Advent,
the beginning of the church's year.

Over the past year we have
followed Jesus
from his birth in a lowly stable
in Bethlehem,
throughout his mountaintop
and valley experiences,
heard his teaching,
wondered at his miracles,
journeyed with him to the Cross,
spent that 24hours of darkness
in the tomb
before celebrating
the glorious resurrection day.

Then on for 40 days
following his appearances
until his final departure
from earth on Ascension Day.

Our lives, too, in this year,
so different from other years,
have been journeys from the
mountaintops down into the valleys,
the joys but mostly
sorrows and fears,
overshadowed by the Coronavirus.

There have been lock-downs
and quarantines,
many have died,
many more have become sick,
livelihoods have been taken away.

Our lives have changed
in a way that we had not imagined
in our wildest dreams.
Christmas will be so different
this year
as we cannot have
our families around us.

But God is always with us,
walking beside us
to give us strength
and encouragement to carry on
in the knowledge
that things will improve.

A vaccine is on the horizon and,
while we may not be able
to celebrate
at a midnight service this year,
we can look forward with hope
to celebrating Easter
in true style.

We can look forward;
and that's what Advent is all about.

It is the time of preparation
for the Lord's coming
to his people;

and he comes to us in three ways.

Christ comes to us throughout history;
he comes to us now in our lives,
and heals
and he comes to us
at the end of time.

For Christians, Advent,
these four weeks a year
can be devoted to preparing
for the celebration
of the birth of Christ;
it is a time

when we can turn our thoughts
to the Second Coming also.

In Advent we await
the coming of our Lord,
the prince of peace.

As we look around at
our war-torn world,
the plight of refugees
and the homeless
let our waiting be filled with
prayers for peace
throughout the world
and justice for all who suffer
the consequences
of such division and war.

Let peace-making
be a reality possible now,
not just a dream of a far-away world.

The reality is that we are free
to truly engage the world,
to serve this world
without fear
because we know that
our future is held secure
in God's loving hands.

We are each being called to
something by God -
it may be something
we are already doing
that we might develop;
it might be stopping one thing,
and allowing another to happen;
it might be something quite ordinary,
or something we never thought
we'd be involved with.

If we're open to God in prayer,
he will lead us to the place
where we can best serve him.

But we're not here just to be useful;
we're here to live out God's love
in a hurting world,
to bring hope to the hopeless
and comfort to the sorrowing;
we're here to bring light
in the darkness
and life out of death.

That's our mission
as the Church,
and that's what our
Advent Adventure is all about.