Advent 2021

Advent – It’s time to get Ready!

Advent 3

Christmas at Ely

Dec 12th 2021  St Botolph’s Church Grimston & St Andrews’s Church Congham

Ruth 2: 1-7, Philippians 4: 4-10, Luke 3: 1-9

I’m going to start with the sunrise! Yesterday morning was absolutely wonderful. I was just getting up about 7.00am and looked outside to see a warm reddish pink glow on the skyline, so I said how lovely it was and continued with my usual ‘getting up’ arrangements.

By 7.30am I was outside  looking at the sky, touched by pinkness on the edge of high clouds.

All out of darkness we have light!

As I walked down the roadway the sun was starting to rise, this enormous ball of light shining on our world. Life giving ball of fiery energy 93 million miles away.

I sometimes feel there is so much that we don’t know and yet we live in a world where people think we have the answer to everything. But do you know what, we don’t! God does but we don’t!

The sunrise I described is like God and the birth of His son Jesus into our world. We start off in the darkness, fumbling around but not seeing where we are going and then we have an indication, that wonderful pinkness in the morning sky. Does it fill you with awe and wonder? To many people it is just a pretty sky and they see no further.

As the world slowly turns, we see the burning Sun on the horizon and every day is a new day. That is like when Jesus is born to us all on Christmas Day. We have the light, and we no longer walk in darkness.

All out of darkness we have light!

If we make a parallel of a day and a year… Every day the sun shines on our world, as the earth turns on its axis. As a Christian every year we have Christmas and the chance for a new day or a new year ahead. We can make a new start, we can be that light in the darkness ourselves, or we can say, “That was a nice Christmas”. put the decorations away and wait until next year

It is the opportunity for hope and a new way. In Ruth we hear that Boaz returning from Bethlehem, spots Ruth in the fields. This is the light that shines in the darkness, the darkness of Ruth and Naomi and it is the chance) or God’s hand that makes this new life happen. And from that union we have the descendants of Joseph earthly father to Jesus

In our reading from Luke we find John the Baptist in the desert preaching in the Judean wilderness. By all accounts John was a wild character, clothes made from camel hair, eating locusts and honey and foretold by Isaiah that there would be a voice in the wilderness shouting in the desert.

Prepare the route that the Lord will take, strengthen out his path”

John was baptizing people in the river Jordan, they were confessing their sins, people were flocking to him. It was foretold and they needed to make sure that they were prepared.

But were they doing the right thing?

Let’s go back 2000 years, a hot and dusty desert not a road in sight and the king is coming. Much preparation to get the road ready, making it good and making it straight.

This message had been in the life of the Jewish people for hundreds of years and it was part of the great message of hope, of forgiveness and in healing this special nation after the exile.

In today’s language it is like the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree, getting ready, shining our own lights.

‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to escape from the coming wrath, you had better prove your repentance by bearing the right sort of fruit! And you needn’t start thinking to yourselves,”

We have Abraham as our father” Let me tell you, God is capable of raising up children from these stones! The axe is already taking aim at the root of the trees. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is to be cut down and thrown on the fire!’

No mincing about there then! John was known to say it as it was. The Pharisees of course believed that they were following the rules, they were leading people in the faith, this chosen people, this holy nation.

But they were full of pride and righteousness. You know the saying pride comes before a fall? They were certainly on the way to a large fall. Their pride and arrogance was getting in the way of the preparation that God was asking for all to make before his coming into the world through Jesus Christ his son. Humility was needed.

The coming of Jesus was not going to be through a cavalcade, a well laid out road, a palace with servants in obedience.

It was going to be at the same starting position as all humans, through a baby, a defenceless baby, and a child who was going to grow up in love and obedience with loving parents who would support him for as long as he wanted.

John’s warnings and starkness show the way for the ministry of Jesus. It was not what the Pharisees where expecting.

But it is a mixture of God’s plans and methods, from the Old Testament and into the New Testament and into our world today. The letter of Paul to the Philippians, The Lord is near… and then as we still say the peace today… The peace of God which passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.

So where are we here today December 2021. Living in a world of chaos and turmoil in many ways, but we still have that pinkness in the sky, telling us that Advent is about the coming of Jesus into the world. Whether it is for the day or for the year we have chance to renew, reflect and be there in the stable with that shining light when the time comes. We can be that light in the darkness.

All out of darkness we have light!  Amen   Rev’d Sue Martin 

 

Advent 1 November 28th 2021

Jeremiah 33:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 3: 9-end, Luke 21: 25-36

 

The light shines in the darkness

Candle light in St Mary’s East Walton. Norfolk  by Sue Martin

Advent means the arrival or the coming.

Just as it’s getting darker and darker with the nights getting longer and longer, we start thinking about the light of the world;

All out of darkness there came light,…

The light of the world has come among us to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light from the collect.

What does that all mean, darkness, the works of darkness, the armour of light?

The world had been in a place where things were not going well, God had become very unhappy about what was happening on earth. No one appeared to be listening to him, so he decided to send his Son.

And here we are in Advent, getting ready, thinking about Christmas day and for us, as Christians seeking the message that comes with the arrival and birth of Jesus. So what do we do! How do we get ready?

Being prepared! Always a good plan. Are you one of those people who are prepared and ready or are you like me and never quite there yet! Somebody one said to me, “You must work well under pressure”

In the readings we hear much about the telling of the coming of Jesus, both in the arrival into the world in the stable amongst people who were not expecting this and through Mary and Jesus, far from their home.

The spirit of Advent is one that I love. That expectation, preparation and getting ready, always a time of hurriedness and a feeling that there is never enough time to get it all finished.

But is that not some of the joy that goes with it. Knowing that whatever we do we can never do enough to be ready for such a big occasion. It leaves us as humans forever in awe and forever in amazement that God did send his only Son for us.

Whatever can we do to get ready for that?

We can make sure that we don’t forget the important part, the hope and the light, that eternal promise. Looking for that person who is going to make all the difference.

Advent is a time for us to be reflective and find a little space to get ourselves ready. In the longer nights and the darkness that surrounds us, a good time to find a quiet corner somewhere or maybe a longer walk in the village or the countryside.

What are we doing to get prepared, what can we do?

We can rush around and make sure we have all the jobs finished, they will eventually be completed. Or we can add more and more every year until we overload completely.

But at what ever stage you and myself do get finished and feel that we are ready,

That is the time when  Christmas actually happens.

We can think about what it means to have a saviour in Jesus Christ, born for us all, born to save us from our sins and to be a light to the world.

And when Christmas actually comes, I will be sitting down, beside the fire, usually with a children’s book related to the Christmas story, a mince pie and a glass of warm wine and some carols playing.

So lets get ready, lets be prepared for Christmas. Lets get all the work finished.

But it won’t always happen neatly when we are expecting it.

The most difficult times don’t come when we have all the trimmings in place.

In our selves and in our souls we should be ready whenever we are called……Don’t put it off any longer, be ready, keep watch, all the spiritual gifts that you have been given look after them and keep them safe.

If we can help others to see the light too, the light beyond the sparkle, beyond the twinkling lights that’s great.

And then is the time to think and be prepared for all that we are about to receive, and to remember about that special night in the stable in Bethlehem.

Amen  Rev’d Sue Martin Diocese of Norwich