Remembering the light of the world this Advent

candle andres f uran 474838 unsplashAs the beginning of Advent approaches on Sunday, Derek Estill, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, reflects on its original meaning in contrast to today's modern-day commercial focus.

Advent provides us with an opportunity to withdraw ourselves from the deafening noise of today’s world and the incessant drum beat to spend, spend, spend.

In an ever-increasing frenzy, we ‘shop till we drop’ to get more and more ‘stuff’ so we can overindulge ourselves on the Christmas Day and into the New Year.

But we can find real delight and relief when we step off the merry-go-round of modern day living, to spend time quietly reflecting on the true and amazing meaning of Jesus’ birth.

As we know, Advent is a time of waiting. It includes themes of hope, preparation, joy and love so we will be ready for the gift that is Christmas. Jesus is the light of our world which the darkness cannot put out, particularly when we read Philippians 4:4-9

‘Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honourable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. And do what you learned and received from me – what I told you and what you saw me do. And the God who gives peace will be with you.’

Time spent meditating during Advent can help us ground our lives in God’s love, reminding us what is really important. It can also help us reconnect to the significance of what we are about to celebrate and its momentous significance for all humanity.

The birth of Christ is a gift for us all to unwrap and enjoy, and I hope and pray you will be able to take time to quietly reflect on these things as you journey through Advent.

In the words of the seasonal carol, ‘O come O come Emmanuel’ and rejoice!

I wish you all happy and reflective time this Advent.’