Thought of the week
At this time of year, I’m usually starting to be overwhelmingly busy. This usually involves being out in the evenings meeting up with people to plan services, practise music, maybe an Advent study course, celebratory Christmas dinners (last year I had one with my workplace, one with my street, and one with my local group of dog walkers!), school concerts and so on. As an introvert, I can find this sort of social schedule very tiring, but now this year is so different, and I am really missing being able to socialise with friends and wider family! As this year draws to a close, there is a real sense of gloom and darkness cast by the pandemic, which is intensified by the dwindling hours of daylight and dropping temperatures. Christmas is certainly going to be very different this year, and it’s easy to get drawn into thinking that it just won’t be as special. But this is a season where we can draw back the glitter veil and see what’s really behind it all. At the start of Advent we look towards the light, and this year we are all desperate to see the smallest of lights in the distance, maybe at the end of a tunnel. The eternal truth is this; however we spend the next few weeks up until Christmas, we know in our hearts that Jesus will come, and has come. As a baby He was born into our darkness, and the light He brings can never be extinguished. We need to turn away from the shadows and be filled with His light, so that we can be beacons of hope. A quote from Orrin Woodward (paraphrased) reads “darkness is merely the absence of Light, not its opposite…One person, then, who lifts a Light can change everything because all eyes are now staring at the person who had the courage to lift Christ’s Light.” It’s tough sometimes to hold onto hope, but we are not alone, we can do it together as a people of faith. Each little thing we can still do to celebrate Christmas will be appreciated more than ever before. Maybe it will be quieter and more contemplative, and be all the richer for that. We turn around a corner into a new Church year where we can’t see the way forward yet. As it says at the end of Psalm 80: “Turn us again, O God; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.” Let’s walk along this Advent journey carrying a little light of hope with us towards Christmas.