The First Of Four Reflections On Advent From One Of The Board Of The Link!!
The past two years has unquestionably been a time like no other we have experienced. Familiar routines have been disrupted and aspects of life that we thought we could never contemplate doing differently have changed dramatically.
In the usual course of events, none of us is immune from tragedy, trouble or trials; the global pandemic has brought further hardship and compounded the difficult times faced by most – through illness, vulnerability, poverty, exploitation, loss.
We all have been forced to adapt to new ways, but for many this has been a time of real struggle.
However, we have also witnessed tangible signs of hope. Communities have been drawn together to help one another and especially those in most need; co-operation has seen scientists develop new vaccines to save lives; health, social care and other workers continued to provide essential services in testing circumstances and society began to value those whose work often goes unnoticed and unrecognised.
Christmas is coming ... but how we celebrate is again likely to be different from usual.
What if we can embrace these changed times? The season of Advent leading up to Christmas is a time of preparation, a time when we reflect on the coming of Jesus. This year we can step back from some of the usual busyness. Can we also set aside some old and comfortable understandings of Jesus – understandings that can hinder us from truly seeing him?
Perhaps, just perhaps, we can receive Jesus in new ways in a fresh Advent coming.
During these weeks of Advent let us take time to journey into God’s story; and be expectant as we open ourselves to what God will say to us.
Jesus came into a world that was waiting. Bringing light to the darkness. Bringing hope to a world that is lost and full of brokenness. Jesus brings hope to those who are afraid, those who are burdened, those who grieve, those who yearn for all that is best for this world. This is not naïve optimism, but hope rooted in reality and in God with us. In all circumstances, hope in him carries us forward.
May we be filled with the hope that Jesus brings - God’s gift of hope.
Hope for the present, for the future, forever; and hope that we are also called to share with those around us, through our words and our actions.
Prayer from the Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland
(Copyright Church of Scotland)
Lord Jesus Christ,
Your world awaits you.
In the longing of the persecuted for justice;
in the longing of the poor for prosperity;
in the longing of the privileged for riches greater than wealth;
in the longing of our hearts for a better life;
and in the song of your Church,
expectation is ever present.
O come, Lord, desire beyond our greatest needs.
O come, Lord, liberator of humanity.
O come, Lord, O come, Immanuel.