This is the time of year when I do my best to remind everyone that we are still in the season of Advent. Unfortunately as every year I seem to be losing the battle as the full tide of Christmas has already descended upon us, and the frantic preparations for the festive are in full swing.
I don’t mind Christmas really – but I think there is big danger in being swept up with the rush, that we end up so busy we actually fail to stop and reflect why we are celebrating or indeed who we are celebrating. Such spare time as we have is spent hunting for that special present or shopping for the turkey or attending yet another nativity play. It is already a time of year when naturally we get tired, and all the frenetic activity only serves to make us more exhausted, which in turn means we find it harder to pray or to read our Bibles or come to church.
Yet this year of all years I passionately believe we need to make time to gather together and pray. Whatever your view on Brexit, we are facing a crisis of government and an uncertain future. There are rising numbers of homeless on our streets and in temporary accommodation. Many, many people will be spending the season lonely and afraid, perhaps in poverty, perhaps in debt. Our nation and our community need prayer. So do our plans to reach out more into the local community as we open up the church each Tuesday from January 8 onwards and build on our links with St Aubyn’s.
So I want you to put a date and a time in your diary or on your smartphone – 13th December at 6pm. We will have a meal first and then move to a time of prayer and praise from 7pm. I want to challenge you to make this your first priority that evening, and if necessary to rearrange your plans. For amid all the rush and the tumult of the nations God’s word to us is clear: Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).
Let’s reclaim this season as the season of Advent when we watch, wait and look to what the Lord will do. Let’s gather in His name to pray. And let’s commit ourselves, our community and our nation to Him as we ask for His kingdom and His will to be done.