Month: December 2017

Hope

7553674988_a483dd6db4_z

A lot of people will have woken up this morning with their hopes filled as they opened the curtains and saw the gardens, roads and paths covered in white. I’ve heard the children playing outside whilst I’ve stayed under the covers with no intention to go outside today.

In two weeks time we will be opening presents on Christmas morning, what are you hoping to open?

Advent is about anticipation, about patience and about hope. Pope Francis says “Advent increases our hope, a hope which does not disappoint. The Lord does not let us down”. As Christians we have a tendency to focus on the Gospels and the New Testament, because that’s when the Church started. However, it is the Old Testament that is the basis for the hope we can have in God.

If you have ever been to a traditional 9 lessons and carols you will know that all of the first lessons are from the Old Testament, from the prophets who were messengers from God, messengers of good news, good news that gave the people of God hope. Hope that God was going to save his people, that he was going to send a saviour. The remainder of the lessons are from the Gospels showing how God fulfilled that promise.

That is why Advent increases our hope, our hope that God will fulfil his promises. This is not the same as hoping that it will snow, or hoping that we will get the present that we want. This is a hope that God will fulfil the many promises that He has made throughout the Bible. The hope in forgiveness, in eternal life, in everlasting love, in peace and so much more. In a world of darkness this hope brings us a flicker of life.

So this advent, what will your hope be in?

Challenge: Look up some of the promises of God throughout the Bible, choose one of these promises and spend some time reflecting on this promise and how it can be fulfilled in you

Prayer: Father God, we thank you that have fulfilled your promises, and we pray that this time of advent will be a time of hope for us all. Amen

 

Advertisements

Patience

Patience is a virtue… a virtue that doesn’t come very easily to me. We should probably start off by understanding what we mean by virtue. A virtue is a character trait, something about our character that is thought to be a good thing.

Advent has officially started now, not just because it is December but also because there are only 4 Sundays left before Christmas. Advent is all about patience, waiting for the coming of the king, the promised saviour, the prince of peace.

The Bible is full of stories where people had to be patient, they had been promised something amazing, but they had to wait for that promise to be fulfilled. Abraham, Moses, Noah, Isaiah.

Why do we value patience so much? We are told that it is a fruit of the spirit, along with love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. This means that it is something that grows within us, as we develop in our faith.

We live in a world where we can pretty much get whatever we want whenever we want it. We don’t have to wait any more, or if we do it’s not normally for very long. However, waiting is part of the journey, it is often a time when we can learn more about ourselves, about each other, about the thing we are waiting for. It makes the fulfilment of the promise even more special.

Patience is also valuable when talking to other people, we can quite often jump in and make other people’s decisions for them, finishing off their sentences, but by being patient we can allow people to grow and develop within themselves.

Our thought for the week comes from Stanley Hauerwas and says

Advent is patience it’s how God made has made us a people of promise, in a world of impatience

The Bible is full of promises from God, promises that we long to see fulfilled, but that we don’t always see in the world. This can become disheartening, except Advent reminds us of the greatest promise, that was spoken about throughout the Old Testament of a saviour being sent. Lots of people lost patience, gave up, and yet Jesus was the fulfilment of that promise. We can trust that God will fulfil all those promises, but we must be patient, and trust His timing. It might be frustrating, and disheartening but we will be amazed at what we learn throughout the journey.

Challenge: is there something that you are particularly impatient for at the moment? Think about what you can learn/develop if you are patient for that thing

Prayer: thank you God that you fulfill the promises that you make. Thank you for the promise of new life with Jesus. Help us to trust your promises and give us patience to wait for their fulfilment and enjoy the journey. Amen