Dear Friends

It was the first sign of snow….and the battery went flat on my Suzuki jeep.

I was supposed to be setting off to a ministerial training day in Wakefield and my lift was in Knaresborough (with Rev Gail and Deacon David). After a late bus journey and struggling through the traffic we finally arrived, just on time.

And the theme? ‘Resilience in public ministry’. I had to laugh. What a morning it had been. But thinking of signs…flat battery…resilience…  At present there is a lot of commercialism in the shops towards Christmas. Yes, I’ve also been Christmas shopping, to put things away ready for the ‘big day’. I want to put them aside, because now that the gifts are ready, I want to get myself ready for Christmas.

Advent is a time of preparation, of looking for signs of the presence of God herewith us now and the exciting gift of the coming of Jesus among us.

There can be a tendency to rush through Advent, which can leave us feeling a little ‘flat’. We have many preparations in church and at home, for carol services, for Messy Church celebrations, Christmas cake baking (mine will be bought, as you will know by now), that we need some resilience to get through it all.

Let’s see if we can make space among the tinsel and sparkle to be still and wait for God (see Psalm 130:5-8); to bounce back from our daily struggles (see Mark 13: 33-37) and let God surprise us when we least expect him.

May we be sustained in our waiting and our ‘flat battery’ be filled with hope. In the words of Charles Wesley:

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free,
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.

I pray we may all have a joyous Christmas and look forward to a peaceful New Year.

Yours in Christ
Rev Ann