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  • Catherine Dalziel

Looking (29-11-2022)

Readings

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)


So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)


Thought

We are almost at the end of November, a month where we are reminded of the importance of remembering, of looking back and learning lessons from the past. The fireworks that exploded around the 5th of the month reminded us of the exploits of Guy Fawkes and our thoughts turned to the sacrifice of so many in the defence of our freedom, over the remembrance weekend. As we draw to the end of the month we have entered the period of Advent. A time for looking forward to Christmas, when we celebrate Christ entering our world as a baby, but also a time for looking forward to the second coming of Christ.


Last week, like many other people I suspect, I decided it was time to get the Christmas stuff out of the loft. So, Rob climbed up the ladder and passed the boxes down that have been sitting up there since they were carefully packed away last January. I’m not ready to put up the decorations yet, what I needed was the materials to make my Advent wreath so that I would be ready to light my first candle on Sunday. The act of making up my Advent wreath always brings back memories of creating them in the past. For those of you who are as old as me, you may well remember watching Advent wreaths being made out of coat hangers on Blue Peter. These days I use an artificial wreath, an old place mat, a candle holder and some blu tac. The end result works surprisingly well.


Advent for me is a wonderful mixture of the past, the present and the future. Advent is full of memories of past Christmases, of getting ready, lighting candles, opening the doors of the Advent calendar, decorating the house, buying presents, writing cards and making stockings to put at the end of the bed on Christmas Eve. Advent is also very much about the present, the world that we live in, a world that needs Christ more than ever. Advent is about putting Christ at the centre of Christmas. Advent is also about the future, as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Christ but also the hope that we have in the second coming.


So, as we reflect on the past, live in the present and have hope in the future may this time of Advent be for us a time of drawing close to Jesus.


Prayer

Jesus, as we prepare for another Christmas, may we draw close to you and keep you always in the centre of our thoughts.

Amen


Song: BE THE CENTRE [Official Lyric Video] | Vineyard Worship - YouTube


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