About this time of year I always sit down and proclaim we need some light in the gloom. Late November is a hard season to plough on through. The mornings are dark and the light is fading. It’s still too early for Christmas lights to bring cheer and the sun seems to have disappeared for a week or so. The charms of autumn have worn off. The crunchy leaves turning mulchy and slimy underfoot.
I am desperate for Advent to begin on Sunday. I long to put up the sticker calendars we have bought. I’m looking forward to putting the puzzle pieces in their hanging pockets ready for us to put the Christmas story together over December. I must get out and buy an advent candle to help the boys over dinner time imagine light that darkness cannot conquer. I need this season of waiting and longing to come. It’s fairly ironic to be waiting for a season of waiting but here I am.
In the midst of the gloom I’m feeling pretty hopeful this week. We think we’ve found a church to settle in for the time being. A place where we can start to slowly unfold and get to know people. Our excellent Godfamily already go there and son1 decided we should the first Sunday we tentatively tried it out. It’s in Brighton. It looks like it might speak to where our souls are right now. It seems to bring connection with God. It feels strange stepping into the unknown, into another community but we are ready to get started again. We are ready to start sharing life with others. We are ready to see where God will take us, break us, use us to help others and restore us. It means the world to know we can do this together with friends who know and love us already.
This Sunday the sermon was on Sabbath. A helpful reminder of the value and necessity of stopping in the midst of life and remembering who we belong to. It was the end prayer that brought the tears. ‘Imagine Jesus is sitting next to you. He’s your brother. He’s here. What is he saying?’. Tears fell down my cheeks as I embraced the intimacy of that moment. The love. The longing. To be sitting with Jesus. I found that he loved me. Wasn’t ashamed to be sitting with me. Knew me. There is much I don’t know. There are many things we are struggling with right now. But I long for more of these times of sitting with Jesus. Times of soaking up his love and delight in me. Words that seem so hard to believe and yet have brought me so much life this week.
“Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.”
Jesus is not ashamed of us. Not ashamed to be in our family. Not ashamed of you. Not ashamed to be identified with us. Numbered amongst us. That’s the wonder of Christmas and God in human form coming to be with us. That’s the only hope of our lives. That’s why I am glad with all my heart to belong to him. He is not ashamed of me.
Preadvent thought over. As you were.