Pause for Thought December 17

Holy familyAdvent Hope

December 3rd is Advent Sunday. In terms of the Church’s year, it marks the beginning of a new year. Some groups and organisations measure years from January to December, some use the financial year of April to March, Schools begin new years in September.

Advent marks the start of the Church’s year and it is about Hope. It involves lighting candles – candles of hope regarding the coming of the promised King. It involves waiting, preparation, getting ready. It is a long way from the Advent calendars with chocolate in them which mark a countdown to the feasting of Christmas.

Hope is one of those things that we seem to need more and more in our world today. There are many things which seem to rob us of hope – stories in the news, terrible things happening, dire warnings about the future, the economy, the environment. 

In the film The Shawshank Redemption, there are two quotes about hope. One is from Red, the long term prisoner and friend of the main character, Andy Dufresne. He tells fellow prisoner Andy that “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane”.  Andy, later in the film says that “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Hope that is never going to be realised is something that can be harmful, as Red asserts. But every year we sing carols at Christmas to remind ourselves that the Advent hope has been realised in part, with the birth of Jesus, the coming of God amongst us. That gives us renewed hope that the rest of our Advent hope – the return of Jesus – will one day be realised.

Hopefully you will be receiving a magazine from the church called Christmas Hope. I hope you will be encouraged and inspired by the stories of hope it contains.

I really hope that you have reasons to be hopeful this Christmas and beyond. I hope that your fears are not realised, and that you find hope in difficult times in the year to come.

My favourite verse in the Bible about Hope is the one I want on my gravestone. It’s more about Easter than Christmas, but I’ll share it anyway. It’s from 1 Peter 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Wishing you a joyful Christmas and hope–full new year. 

Every blessing

Rev Dave Maylor.

“Pause for Thought” this month comes from Rev Dave Maylor

Rector of Barnack with Ufford, Bainton, Helpston & Wittering

 

Telephone: 01780 740234