Category Archives: Insights

Seeing

17. Sometime later, there were some wise men who saw a new star in the sky.




Sometimes in faith we need to have simple wisdom like the wise men of the Jesus story. We read that they saw, pure and simple, they saw! Such wisdom that they had though was dependent on them looking. Jesus you will remember accused the scribes and Pharisees of looking and not seeing; of knowing the law but not the wit to see God’; of the demand of ‘mercy and not sacrifice’. So we return to the ‘ask, seek and knock’ that Jesus promoted. So today look carefully at the world then in your prayers ‘ask, seek and knock.’

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A Waiting Disciple?

16. The shepherds found the baby and then were so happy and excited that they told lots of other people the news.


I always dream of one of the shepherds turning out to be one of Jesus favoured disciples some years later. From their calling to the stable in Bethlehem, their visitation and their spreading of the news; they waited and watched.

Here is the nub of our faith; we hear, we act and we tell. When we are comfortable with this path we will be drawn into repetition. We cannot stop hearing, but then neither can we cease acting as Jesus called and neither can we stop telling of the worth and worship we find in Jesus presence.

Comfortable 

13. Jesus was born. He was wrapped up, and placed in the animal’s hay to sleep.


Modernity had ruined contentment. There seems nothing that is more abhorrent today than being comfortable. Change has become the ideological drive of the day, everything must renew or be cast aside because it seems to be comfortable whilst being contented is all but sinful and decay.

Where though on earth can the wholeness and holiness of a child settled and sleeping lead? 

“Don’t disturb the baby” a couple receiving guests will say,”they took ages to settle!” From comfort and calmness a child grows naturally. I believe, I hope the part of Jesus development was in love and stability generated from Mary and Joseph.  

Glory

15. Then the whole sky filled with angels who sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth.” The angels left and the shepherds decided to go and see the baby.


Music can lift my spirit and take my whole being somewhere unexpected. What is your favourite piece of music? Does it inspire or well up melancholy into you very being. These angels singing must have been all your top ten rolled into one. Not one but a veritable host singing God’s praise; really professional worship, top draw. The shepherds so moved they left there sheep to view the child.

What will draw you from worship to action today’s?

Great Expectations 

10. It was a long and difficult journey, especially for Mary whose tummy was getting very big because the baby was nearly ready to be born.

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There is a strange encumbrance, a draw back to being heavily pregnant; how you move, what you can eat it or drink. What a time for Mary to take a long journey? There must have been great expectation, in the simple birth of a first child and this promise of Emmanuel.

Advent can be a time of preparation as we move toward the birth of the Christ-child. We may grow wise in the encumbrances or draw backs in our own spirituality in this ‘long and difficult journey’ we call life.

What burden do we gift to Jesus that he would carry for us?

Loving and Planning 

4. Mary and Joseph loved each other very much and were engaged to be married.

 

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No one is an island in that we live in a sea of relationships. Jesus’ ministry and the Christian faith is still about relationships; with God and our neighbours. Our Advent story places the events of Jesus birth within a relationship. Dig deeply and it seems a strange relationship to modern norms but our story place Mary and Joseph together, loving and planning. What a state of grace to be in – loving and planning!

Where will you loving and planning take you spiritually today and through Advent. Focus on someone or a particular situation for a few moments.

God made…..!

2. God made all things: the sky and the land, the heavens and the earth; and they were good.

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I recall a response that always comes to mind when I hear the phrase: “God is good!” My knee jerk reaction is, “All of the time!” When you look at the creation stories the regular phrase used is, “and God saw that it was good.” Advent is a time when we may look at all that is amiss in the world but recognise that ‘goodness’ is an element of the spirit of God. An Advent theme is repentance but also an acknowledgment that we seek what is good in the world, that even in the tainted and ugly situations we may bring the lovely and good. Jesus found the kernel of his Father’s goodness and grace in the most unlikely of people.

Today look at the most tainted events in the news and look for God’s grace embedded there, pray that goodness may prevail.