Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

 I find it fascinating that New Year's Eve is just one day out of 365, and yet it can potentially be a real watershed in our lives. It's a time to review the year that has passed. A time to take stock. And a time to look forward with hope. This is especially true in the northern hemisphere, where the date falls in the shortest, darkest days of the year and we look forward with hope to longer, brighter days and (eventually) the joys of spring.
It's a watershed.  And it can be a kairos time.  So let's celebrate all that's been good about the last year, make peace with all that wasn't so good, and look forward with hope to 2013.

And what of New Year's resolutions?  Will you be making one?  Mine is: to allow more of  Jesus, who is in me, to live through me   ...   not by 'trying harder' to be like him (for he is already in each one of us)   ...   but by asking the Holy Spirit to help me surrender to that possibility and to strip away all that holds me back from letting it happen. 

"Jesus, live through me" will be my New Year prayer. 

How about you?

Happy New Year to all my readers: may the grace of God be with you in all that lies ahead.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Gathered Around a Manger

Gathered around a manger, high on a Cumbrian hillside, in a barn lit only by flickering torches, the truth of the stark reality of the birth - and death - of Jesus came alive for me this week.  Along with fellow travellers on the Windermere Centre Advent Retreat, seated on straw bales, surrounded by muffled sounds and pungent scents of cattle stirring, I was privileged to share in a most moving silent communion. The bread, reminding us of the Bread of Life, rested in the manger, swaddled in a simple white cloth   ...  and as the wine was poured, it dripped over a simple wooden cross and crown of thorns beside the feeding trough.  The setting was atmospheric, the symbolism profound. 

The truth of the Christmas story, and its full realisation in the Easter story, has never before impacted me so powerfully.

As we inevitably race headlong towards Christmas, in the busyness of the coming days, may we all have 'Advent Moments'   ...   spaces to pause and to pray ...  and to ponder the wonder and truth and incredible beauty of the incarnation.

If you are seeking some simple advent reflections, I have recently added some to my poetry pages.

May God bless and sustain you all at this Christmas time.