ADVENT

26th November 2020

ADVENT As 2020 draws to a close, we’ve reached that time of year when we begin to look back. Unpacking old decorations provokes stories from Christmases past. Carols and festive songs remind us of special gatherings with loved ones. And before too long, TV and newspapers will start reviewing this ‘unprecedented’ year. The four weeks before Christmas are known as Advent, and the Bible readings we hear in the season of Advent also encourage us to look back and reflect on another ‘unprecedented’ event. An event which happened 2000 years ago, during a time of challenge when – the Bible tells us – people walked in darkness, longing for signs of light and hope. This has also been a year when people have needed signs of hope. Perhaps the most obvious were the rainbows that displayed our gratitude for the courage and compassion of our NHS and key workers. We’ve needed these signs because 2020 has not been easy for any of us. For many it’s been incredibly difficult. Some people went through lockdown feeling terribly lonely. Some have experienced illness and loss. Some have known the sadness of family conflict. Some continue to feel anxious about the months ahead. Now as a very different Christmas approaches, with us distanced from loved ones and unable to take part in our usual Christmas traditions, there’s a risk these feelings may once again revisit. So, it’s really important we remember the things that helped us stay hopeful over the worst months of 2020. Things like music, exercise, playing, talking, writing, reading, volunteering, prayer, faith. Nature also lifts our spirits. The next four weeks are also a time of waiting; waiting for Christmas, Santa and to celebrate Jesus’s birth. We hope you will enjoy our blessing of the advent wreath which will be shared remotely on December 1st as a preparation for Christmas. At home we invite you to pray: God of hope, who brought love into this world, be the love that dwells between us. God of hope, who brought peace into this world, be the peace that dwells between us. God of hope, who brought joy into this world, be the joy that dwells between us. God of hope, the rock we stand on, be the foundation of our lives. AMEN

 

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