Advent Reflection 2014
WEEK 1: Be Prepared
We were all like men unclean, all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing. We have all withered like leaves and our sins blew us away like the wind. Isaiah 64:6
Isaiah’s words are harsh and direct. The season of Advent provides space to re-examine our priorities and to renew our commitment to our faith. It is a time of spiritual cleansing, offering the opportunity to take stock of our lives and to make changes. November has come to a close and the winter nights draw in. The golden leaves of Autumn have all been blown away – a stark reminder of the transitory nature of our fragile existence.
Am I prepared and ready to celebrate Advent well?
Can I re-examine my priorities and give more quality time to friends and family?
How might I be a better neighbour?
How might I change my lifestyle to shift the focus from my own needs to the needs of others?
Do I look out for those whose clothes are filthy: beggars, the homeless, rough sleepers?
Or do I pass by on the other side?
Do I speak out for the vulnerable and the defenseless, those who are considered unimportant in our throw- away society?
Do I really need so many possessions?
Do I care properly for creation and use its resources wisely for the benefit of future generations?
As I write this I am eagerly awaiting the precious gift of a new grandchild. Advent is a time of joyful anticipation and expectation: a time to look forward to the birth of our Saviour. It is also a time of preparation: a time to make sure we are ready and well-equipped to welcome Jesus into our hearts. Just as we care lovingly for a new baby so too we are invited by God, our loving Father, to show our love for the Christ child by caring lovingly and responsibly for everything God has created.
THE IN-BETWEEN TIMES
Advent is about the in-between times and Advent is where God will meet us. We have on one hand, a world in disarray and it doesn’t seem like there is much hope. On the other hand, we have a vision of something better. That’s the struggle of Advent. A new born baby in a stable announcing: ‘Peace on earth’ or a man on a cross crying: ‘Forgive them, Father’. It is a bridge. The Jesus who does not solve all the problems or remove all the pain and suffering, but who says that fear can be met with faith and that history and hope do rhyme.
Become a member of Church Action on Poverty www.church-poverty.org.uk
Volunteer at a Drop-in Centre for homeless people or help at your local food bank.
Spend less on presents and make a donation to Housing Justice www.housingjustice.org.uk
Visit an elderly neighbour who lives alone or befriend someone who is new to your area.
You guide those who act with integrity and keep your ways in mind. Isaiah 64:5