MU Devotion Sunday 29th November The First Sunday of Advent
Restore us, O God of hosts; show us the light of your countenance and we shall be saved. Psalm 80. 7
Advent begins just as we are approaching the darkest time of the year. This week it has been really noticeable that night is starting to begin in the middle of the afternoon. A real contrast to the summer when we had weeks and weeks of light afternoons and evenings where we could enjoy the outdoors. As the gloom sets in and we are spending so much more time alone or with just our immediate family we really need a boost of light. So even I find myself giving thanks to those people who have already decorated their houses for Christmas.
Normally I am rather grumpy about this always preaching to my daughters – “the weekend before Christmas is the time to put up the decorations”. This year, however, has been so different and if we cannot go out and enjoy our usual Christmas get-togethers why not embrace the uplift offered by those houses in our streets which have outdoor lights or visible indoor decorations. The light offered by such fairy lights and decorations is of course a temporary light. One that is put back into the loft at the end of the Christmas season.
At Advent we anticipate a vastly different sort of light. A light that came into our darkness that will never be extinguished. The writer of today’s psalm understood the significance of this light. Understood that the light which comes from God is a light that saves. The psalmist’s had a vastly different view as to how this heavenly light will save. Looking back into their history recalling the saving acts of power during the time of the Patriarchs and asking for them to be repeated. We, however, know that salvation comes in the person of Jesus, God with us.
So today we begin a time of anticipation and preparation as we wait for our annual celebration of Jesus, the Light of the World, coming into our lives as a helpless baby. This year our Advent will be very different, less parties, less social gatherings, probably less time spent in church. This is not necessarily a bad thing because we will now have more time to prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming of the Light.
Time to contemplate what we need to let go of in order that we might truly recognise the light. Recognise and embrace the light that will come and shine in our darkness. Lifting our hearts to higher heights than can be achieved by Christmas shopping, office parties or indeed multi-coloured fairy lights and tinsel.
May you all be blessed with an Advent full of sparkling anticipation for the coming light.