O Come O Come Emmanuel
In the last few years, I’ve found myself whispering the words, ‘Come Lord Jesus, Come’, with increasing urgency. With escalating global hatred of ‘the other’, increasing awareness of systemic injustice, blatant deception in government, frightening disease and environmental destruction. It can feel like darkness is winning. But during this winter season, when dark nights lengthen, we are reassured of God’s presence and plans, as we enter Advent.
Advent is a season where we look back to those in the past, like Abraham, Moses, Isaiah and Micah, who like us waited in the darkness for the true light to come and redeem the world. We also rejoice alongside Mary, Simeon, Anna, the Shepherds, and kings who experienced the light of the world in the flesh and rejoice in our own experience of the Spirit in our lives. Finally, we look forward with all God’s people to the day he will come again and put an end to all darkness.
These three perspectives, past, present, and future allow us to confidently hold onto hope, even in the darkest of moments. God has not and will not abandon us, his love is powerful and cannot be overcome by the weight of darkness. ‘The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.’ John1:5
For your journey through advent this year, you may have some firm favourites you turn to, but here are some ideas you may like to consider.
1) Listening on-line
Lectio 365 - Download for free on your phone or tablet Learn to meditate on the Bible. Lectio 365 is an audio devotional resource that helps you pray the Bible every day. Listen for 10 minutes each morning to meditate on the word and pray. End each day with God using peaceful, seasonal night prayers.
The Road to Christmas – Written by John Ayrton Former Pastor of Portswood church. 25, 5 min reflections. Watch or listen here…
2) Book Choices
Honest Advent: Scott Erickson
Awakening to the Wonder of God-With-Us Then, Here, and Now - 25 Readings for Advent and Christmas.
Advent for Everyone: A Journey with the Apostles. Tom Wright
Join Tom Wright on a journey with the Apostles, exploring the New Testament themes of thankfulness, patience, humility and joy. Within each of these themes, Wright offers a week of daily readings and meditations.
The Whole Christmas Story: An Advent adventure through Genesis, Revelation, and points in between. Jo Swinney
Advent is a time to remember and reflect on the Christmas story and the baby at its heart. But the virgin birth, the manger, the mysterious eastern visitors and their portentous gifts – all these hint at a much grander narrative. Come and explore the whole Christmas story, and find your place within it.