Wednesday 21 December
How stories fire the imagination. Old classics be they fairy tales or myths from legend. Expressions of humanity that underline significant desires to recognise the good, the potential and positives of life and our desire for them to be ‘right’.
A fine story sets the scene, sets down markers for us to equate ourselves alongside. Place, people and character information give us a sense of the narrative and make the whole tale personal to us.
When you look at Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth all these elements are laid out for us. The incarnation needs a place, a cast of characters and some background.
We all know the traditional birth narrative. It is close to our hearts in its simplicity, but its familiarity may hide the stark and most important facts.
Looking with new eyes – within eternity God chose to place Jesus in a small town in Israel at a particular point in that country’s history. He was born to a specific mother in an unconventional family for the time. This birth was not heralded in a royal court, but in some dark, similarly insignificant countryside.
If there, if then, if……then why not to me, here in my unworthy circumstance.
That is the amazing point of the incarnation, it speaks of new possibilities.
As I read or hear the Christmas story anew, may I see, my I know the desire of God to be a part of my existence and the lives of those among whom I move. God of entity you are ultimately the God of an infinite number of moments in time when you break into the human state. In Jesus, in me and in my neighbour. Grant me grace to live as part of your story. Amen
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Bible text, Christmas, Observation, Reflection
Tagged advent, baby, birth, christmas, classic, God, hpc, huddersfield parish church, incarnation, Jesus, mary, matthew, new eyes, new ways, Peter’s, right, Simplicity, speaking, St, story
Tuesday 20 December
Looking at a totally new way? Well, we could start by forgetting everything we know about Jesus, his birth, growing, ministry, death and resurrection. You see we come to Christmas with the account from last year embedded in us; our knowledge, understanding and experience.
A new way? That God becomes a raw slip of humanity; in an insignificant state before the ‘dark ages’ had begun.
The question to ask is simply ‘Why?’
That is the question submerged beneath our knowledge, understanding and experience. Look in a mirror, closely at yourself and then reflect.
Jesus born so long ago into insignificance gives you an eternal link to God. Not a distant ethereal link but by flesh and blood, physical, emotional and spiritual link.
Lord, when I think you are distant, remind me that I can see your humanity revealed in Jesus by looking in a mirror. In barest humanity the baby at Bethlehem brought you into our bodily sphere – close and a human person like me.
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Christmas, Observation, Reflection, Thought for the day
Tagged advent, baby, bethlehem, christmas, close, frorgetting, God, hpc, huddersfield parish church, humanity, Jesus, link, mirror, new way, Peter’s, St, why
In the final week before Christmas I reflect back to the recent confirmation service where the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, asked the gathered congregation to look afresh at repentance. In fact he told us to see the turning round of repentance was simply look at every situation, and God’s kingdom in a new way.
Christianity has at its foundation a reassessment of the worldly to the extent that we run contrary to the world. Bishop Nick mentioned John the Baptist’s call and Israel’s expectation. Repentance: new eyes revealed not in a conquering king but a helpless baby. Not a winnowing fire, but a breath of a child.
So what will I see with new eyes today?
Father in this season where we await a birth of something familiar but then something completely radical, help me see with radical eyes: not just those in need, but those who can be aided by me; not just the lonely, but my companion; not just the sick but the beloved by you. And all in Jesus name. Amen.
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Observation, Reflection, Uncategorized
Tagged advent, baby, bishop of leeds, child, christmas, God, hpc, huddersfield parish church, Jesus, John the Baptist, new way, nick baines, Peter’s, repentence, right revd nick baines, St
Saturday 17 December
I return to hope again and its fundamental part of our preparation for Christmas.
We have a pattern in Mary of what is possible. Mary wasn’t chosen for her status, her intelligence or even her holiness. Mary was ‘overshadowed’ because of her hope that stood outside the boundaries of convention and society.
Hope in God the Father of Mary’s forebears, hope in Jesus, the answer to our desire for God close and the Holy Spirit, the hope of presence still. These are the themes of hope demonstrated in nativity scenes and carols describing closeness, closeness in this baby born to Mary.
May I say that, all my hope on God is founded; it is he who renews my trust. Me, through change and chance, he guides. For only He is good and true. For it is God unknown, he alone calls my heart to be his own. Amen.
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Insights, Observation, Reflection
Tagged advent, baby, call, christmas, convention, father, God, hope, hpc, huddersfield parish church, impressions, impressions from st pete's, Jesus, mary, overshadowed, society, st peter's, trust
Thursday 8 December
I always seem to end up in the wrong queue.
I have quite an advanced queuing technique which takes into account the length of queue (obs), the capabilities of shoppers and checkout staff, the type of item in a trolley and whether there are repeats; but I still seem to end up in the slowest queue.
And I don’t like queuing, I don’t like waiting.
Yet we are told to wait, to be patient as the farmer is patient. In this desperate rush in advent, both wanting to get to Christmas day as soon as possibly, and needing more time to get everything done, let us pause and get in the queue.
Christ comes to us, not because we demand him, or because we are ready. Christ comes becomes it is time. Let us be found waiting.
In this Advent season of preparation give us a understanding of how to be ready, but not in an impatient and demanding way, rather with a sense of God’s time and in Jesus timeliness. Come Lord Jesus to my frenetic ‘doing’ and simply ’be’ in my life. Amen
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Insights, Observation
Tagged advent, be, christ, come, doing, God, hpc, huddersfield parish church, Jesus, Life, patient, st peter's
Friday 2 December
Sunday will focus this week of reflection at Huddersfield Parish Church particularly. The Bishop of our Diocese of Leeds, Nick Baines, who contributed yesterday’s reflection, will confirm candidates during the main morning service. There will be call to repentance and some self examination with wonderful references to Jesus life and ministry, his death and resurrection.
The words and actions, the whole sacrament itself is a moment in the life of St. Peter’s who everyone present will be called afresh.
Called afresh, now that is an advent theme!
Lord, as we sing ‘New every morning is the love, our waking and uprising prove,’ help us to live as those called afresh each day. In this newness guide me to share this state with others this day. Amen
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Observation, Reflection
Tagged advent, afresh, bishop of leeds, call, confirmation, hpc, huddersfield parish church, Jesus, nick baines, resurrection, st peter's