From The Vicarage . .
‘No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him still
the dear Christ enters in.’
I know from working with 4 and 5 year olds that if you want to put on a splendid school nativity play for a hall full of parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, nans and grandads you’d better get yourselves organised early and so it was with that resigned feeling of familiarity that I sat down during the first week of November to allocate roles in my class. The speaking parts, the support acts and the roles for the children dressed as sheep because they are likely to wander off if something far more interesting catches their eye. However, preparing so early can hinder ones enthusiasm for the approach of Advent and Christmas.
Similarly, the friends who speak of doing their Christmas shopping in the January sales, those who may have left it as late as July in order to have everything wrapped before their summer holiday or the folks who have decided one marathon day of toil in the out of town shopping centre will be painful but oh so satisfying.
Am I alone when I dream of a calm, quiet, reflective approach to Advent where I savour each day, meditating on the season of waiting that lies ahead, experiencing that period of anticipation and patience that will lead me gently into Christmas as darkness falls on Christmas Eve, the streets quieten and children are tucked up in bed. Is this too much to hope for?
The Word became Flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14).
In our endeavours to get ahead, to be prepared, to tick off the lists, we are in danger of losing the importance of living in the present moment, of taking the time to stop and listen to those around us, those we love and to look for where God is at work in our lives. If we can’t slow down how can we allow God the space to break into our busy-ness. Christmas demands a time of gentle preparation if we are to take seriously the need to be challenged by Christ’s coming in the midst of us.
I cannot take credit for these eight simple words but I do rather like them.
No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.