A reflection from Craig who took assembly this morning.
If I asked you what are you hoping for this Christmas I wonder what your answer would be? Would it be for a perfect Christmas, a Mulberry handbag, a new PlayStation or just to have the family together? I am always hopeful that my football team will win on Boxing Day, but alas as a Newcastle fan that isn’t going to happen.
We use the word hope in lots of different situations but the kind of hope we speak of at Christmas isn’t the same.
Advent is a time of year where we are waiting and looking forward to Christmas. It’s supposed to be a bit like when you shake a fizzy drink, and you are getting excited for Christmas, until the cork pops off, when all that pressure and excitement is released on Christmas Day with a great celebration.
Advent is also a time where we are waiting for the return of King Jesus. He promised that one day he would return and make everything perfect again; there would be no more crying or pain or death, he will wipe away every tear. This is what we hope for in Advent; the perfect restoration of all of creation.
As we look around the world and see all that is happening, it isn’t difficult to see how wrong and worrying things are; the rise of ISIL, bombings in Beirut and atrocities closer to home in Paris. This isn’t the way that God created things to be. The hope we are thinking about at Advent is a perfect hope that Jesus will one day return and bring everything back to its perfect order.
We see this now in glimpses when we see the sick healed, the hungry fed, the poor set free, the broken hearted comforted, and freedom for those in captivity. This is a sign of the promise that Jesus made – that one day he would return.
So amongst all the Christmas shopping, all the Christmas parties, meals and celebrations, why not take some time this Advent to slow down and think about what Christmas really means? Where can you sneak two minutes to think about what it means that Jesus is ‘God with us’ and that we can have a secure hope in him?
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’
All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’(which means ‘God with us’).” Matthew 1.21-23.
Written by The Rev. Craig Hunt, Curate at St. Mary Bredin Church, Canterbury