We’re in the change from spring to a hot summer; from football to cricket; with presentation nights and seemingly endless parties culminating in Christmas and New Year celebrations; so it’s no wonder we call this “the silly season”!

We can be swamped by all these overwhelming demands on our time OR it can be a time where we reconsider our priorities. Often that happens on New Year’s Eve.

The Christian life is all about regularly re-orientating our focus from the immediate and temporary to that which is worthwhile and lasts.

Advent is the first season in the church calendar and it’s where we anticipate the hope for peace, joy and love that every human yearns for in the ups and downs of life as we know it.

At the heart of this season is remembering a particular and peculiar event when the One who created the sky and the earth and every living thing entered into a place and time in history in order to provide the essential point of life for us to focus on.

This is a story that our myths and legends anticipate and required deliberate and planned preparation by the One God.  It was so significant that it took hundreds of years for the sons and daughters of Abram and Sarai to be ready to understand who the Christ was and be able to explain it to others who can explain it on.

Today, the followers of the Christ, known as Christians, have all the advantages of the Old and New Testaments in the Bible plus 2000 years of Church expression in order to grasp more and more fully the extra-ordinary example and teachings that Jesus the Christ presented during his short 33 life on earth.

Jesus’ revelation is that each of us is known by God, our highs and hard times, and that there is greater things to come as God’s ways and works and words are established in our hearts, in our families, in our communities, and in our lands.

The focus, the starting point, is accepting God’s mercy and forgiveness for you and for me and passing that on to those around us. That’s something worth practicing this silly season!

Perhaps that will be with the grumpy uncle or the forgetful friend or the harassed driver?  It’s about recognising others as just as valuable and precious as God thinks of us and seeing God’s beauty in each other more and more every day.

To maintain this focus, Christians gather together regularly to spur each other on to love and good deeds.  May such times be wonderful for you this season in your local church as Jesus’ birth is proclaimed.

With grace and peace

Rev Mark Illingworth
Deputy General Secretary (Until 21 December 2019) 

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