Dear Friends,

I am writing this towards the end of November – Advent Sunday will be next week.  The past couple of months seemed to have passed in a blur!  We had a brilliant weekend at our District Gathering, ‘Flourish’ in September, followed by our series of Bible Study sessions, Rock Up & Worship in October, and stationing Circuit visits – and a new grandson on the same day – plus the start of the second series of Worship: Foundations training, and our Glow Youth event in November!  God has certainly been alongside us during these events, plus the other mission activities, prayer groups, fellowship and worship, and meetings, in the weekly life of our churches.

Let’s press the ‘pause button’….

I spent a couple of hours this week clearing up the leaves in the front driveway and the rear lawn of the manse.  I like the season of Autumn, it’s my favourite time of the year… I’m still a ‘big kid’ at heart and like to kick a pile of leaves and hear the rustle that they make.  I like how the Autumn leaves change the colour of the landscape, and I like to be wrapped up warm for a walk on a crisp (not wet) day.

Clearing the leaves from a gravel drive and a damp lawn is not an easy task, but needs to be done.  Gardening advice (which I need) says that they need to be cleared up from the gravel otherwise it becomes messy, and from the lawn as they will smother the grass, also from paths and patios, or they will become slippery.  That’s not why I clear them up.

I do it because it gets me outdoors and connects with nature, and when it looks tidy I feel a bit more organised and I’m ready to move onto the next task.  But first, I need to set aside some time in which to do it.  And it can’t all be done at one time – it has to be done in smaller chunks, otherwise the job becomes too big.

Ok, back to the ‘pause button’…

We’re coming up to December and all that it brings – school assemblies before the holidays, planning of carol services, the last sessions of church groups, Luncheon Club Christmas dinner, Wesley Christmas Day dinner (cooking, volunteering, hosting, driving guests), plus our personal preparations of shopping, Christmas cards to send….

Lots to plan for Christmas, but what about Advent? Have you had a thought about what you are going to do in the Season of Advent?

Just as we have cleared up the leaves, and swept the paths clear, perhaps we need to clear up some things in our lives and clear our paths so that we can see, feel, and know the coming of our Lord.  How are we going to do that?

Let’s press that ‘pause button’…. put aside some smaller chunks of time to prepare ourselves (me included), instead of rushing from the Autumn events straight into Christmas, otherwise it can get ‘messy’.

As we undertake our personal preparations for Christmas, let’s be aware of the times when we can pause and reflect on why we are doing what we’re doing…break the tasks into manageable chunks, pause and pray during the shopping, as we decorate the tree, for the people that we are writing cards for…and pray for ourselves too, that we find time to pause and reflect on how God is at work in our lives, to reflect on our hopes and dreams, and even our fears, as we await the coming of Jesus.

We have a Circuit Advent Service of Light on Saturday 30 November, 7.30pm at Woodlands;  and perhaps you may like to join our Advent Bible Study on 5, 12 and 19 December 7pm.

Among all our expectations, let’s clear away some space in our hearts for God, for the gift of his Son as we look forward to the nativity, through the power of the Spirit.

“We must look ahead, to Jesus.  He is the one who carved out the path for faith, and he’s the one that brought it to completion”.

Hebrews 12: 2
The New Testament for Everyone, by Tom Wright.

Have a prayerful Advent, a joyous Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

God bless