2016 December

December 2016

Dear Friends,

As we come to the end of the calendar year, we have already started a new liturgical year which starts with Advent.

Advent can be the forgotten season of the church calendar as everything from the shops to the TV shout out Christmas to us. It is a very special time for reflection and consideration. Amidst the rush up to Christmas we may wonder when we might have time for that! However, we have been truly blessed this year with some Advent thoughts from Terry, our Superintendent minister.

Terry reminds us of Mary’s ACCEPTING her calling to be Jesus’ mother; of the WAITING for a Messiah; of the JOURNEYING to Bethlehem; and of the BIRTHING that took place in Bethlehem.

We often keep Mary till last in Advent, but clearly, she had her encounter with the Angel nine months earlier. It was a calling that we think of being placed on Mary, but Mary had a choice whether to accept or refuse her calling. In a discussion group recently, we pondered if Mary was the first person that the angel had gone to, and had others rejected the calling before Mary accepted it? Ultimately, it took a person who was willing to put her faith in the God who was calling her. Mary was an ordinary girl from an ordinary family. It is in her ordinariness that Mary speaks to us and challenges us to be willing to follow whatever God wants us to do. As she set aside her plans for an ordinary life and took on the calling to an extraordinary life, so we must also be willing to set aside our plans in favour of what God wants to do with us.

The waiting was of a people who had walked in darkness for hundreds of years, waiting for their Messiah. The waiting under successive oppressive regimes would be painful; and testing. It was the waiting of the Magi for a sign foretold – the sign of a star that would announce the birth of a King. It was the waiting of Mary as the consequences of her decision became so evident that she could no longer hide it. It was waiting in solitude as her family, her community and even Joseph turned against her because there were more earthly reasons for pregnancy than an angelic visitation.

What about us? Do we wait with anticipation, with resignation, with expectation or with scepticism born out the reluctance to be hurt by dashed hopes? Advent is a time of waiting.

And what about journeying? Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, or the longer journey of the Magi? Being on the move, having left where we were but not yet where we will be. As we as a church conduct a review of who and what we are, and what God’s plans are for us, we are on a journey. Such a journey can be unsettling. The comforts of home have been left behind and the aspirations of the future are not yet in sight. But like the Israelites of old, God travels with us; his presence is not restricted by place or time.

Finally, we have birthing. As Jesus was born in conditions that neither Mary or Joseph would have expected, so we must see what God is birthing in us, in our church and in our community. In January, we will be presenting the fruits of our review, and in February and beyond, we will be acting on it. It is in this exciting season that we will see what God is doing and allow him to bring to birth his plans for salvation to the people of Crosby.

In Advent, we find a calling to accept, a hope for which we wait, a journey that we must travel and a birth that brings God’s plans to fruition. May God bless you over this season of Advent, Christmas and Covenant, and may you find yourself walking with God as we celebrate Christ’s birth and set forth into 2017.

With every blessing,

David.


Page last updated: 1st May 2017 10:16 PM