Weekly Update – 3rd December
Hands up, who’s excited for Christmas?
I love Christmas, I’ve been watching Christmas movies since September (much to the family’s dismay) and have been dreaming about the food I can eat for almost as long!
I’m now in full on ‘gotta get it sorted’ mode – there’s a tree to buy, decorations to put up, there’s presents to buy, food to buy, mince pies to make (okay – that’s a bit of a stretch, I’ll be buying those too), I’ve got visitors coming so we’ve musical beds to organise and I’ve just announced to my long suffering husband that we need to finish the shower room (currently has no wall or floor covering, no shower connected and no door – I like to set him a challenge).
Oh and of course we’ve the Christmas Market on Saturday, the Christmas Tree Festival from the 15th, our Carol Service among the trees on the 17th, 2 Crib Services and a Midnight Communion on the 24th, phew….and breathe.
Isn’t it easy to slip into full on ‘busyness’ and completely miss what Christmas is actually about!
This Sunday is the beginning of Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus; a season of candlelight and reflection; and a time to remind us about the importance of Jesus in our lives. But how, in the madness of the ‘to do’ lists, do we ensure that we make time to stop and be with God?
Well the Church of England has got it covered, with their Christmas campaign, Follow the Star: Join the Song, which highlights how singing can help draw us closer to God and each other through the journey from Advent to Epiphany.
If you download the app you can find an Advent Calendar that has short daily reflections from 1st December through to Christmas Eve, and then #FollowTheStar reflections from Christmas Eve to 5th January. Each day offers a bible reading, a reflection, an action to do, and a prayer. And it even allows you to send a reminder so you won’t forget.
So, whilst I really don’t want to add to your schedule during this time of Advent, if you possibly can, stop, reflect, and ask God to help you draw near to Him. The more we strive to connect to Christ in Advent, the closer we come to a real celebration of Christmas.
This Advent, Lord, come to the manger of my heart. Fill me with Your presence from the very start.
As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given, Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven.
The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever. You came as a baby born in a manger.
Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree, Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.
Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus’ birth, When He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.
Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night. And angels announced, “Into your darkness, God brings His Light.”
“Do not be afraid,” they said, to shepherds in the field. Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.
Make me like those shepherds, obedient to Your call. Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all.
Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice. Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise.
Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush. In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush.
This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart. Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.
Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day. Keep me close to You, Lord. It’s in Your wonderful Name I pray.