The Advent Collective – 15 December 2020

A daily reflection drawing from Advent Bible passages – to help us grow as we live out our faith in the everyday moments of life.

Hello! This is the Advent Collective from STC Sheffield, it’s great to be with you today. Only 10 days to go.

I didn’t grow up around a lot of small children, but I have had the joy of knowing some great little people in the past couple of years. One of my favourite things about children, especially younger kids, is how gullible they can be. I was really gullible as a child and would believe absolutely anything anyone told me. I’d take anything I heard as the truth. Something to know about me, is that I have been a serial nail biter for most of my life. My poor mother tried all the tricks in the book to stop me. The day I did stop was honestly one of the happiest of her life. You’ll be glad to know that I’ve been clean now for just over a year. But I remember my friend once telling me that his cousin bit her nails so much, she had to have her appendix removed because it was full of finger nails. Whether there is any actual medical correlation between the two or not, for a long time afterwards, I couldn’t stop thinking about each nail I’d bit off and how each one might be putting me in danger.

You see with kids, sometimes you’ll make a sarcastic comment or have a witty response to a their questions and won’t think anything of it in that moment. Until a couple of hours or even days later when a similar topic of conversation comes up again, you hear them repeat what you’ve said. “Sam said so and so and that this happens because of this…” It takes a moment but you soon realise one off the cuff comment was taken as absolute truth to them. They not only remember exactly what you said, they also trust it. They let it in to their minds and let it form their understanding, their opinions and their reality about something.

It’s a slightly tenuous link, but it’s comparable to the circumstances of the Colossians in our passage for today.

Colossae was once a major city known for its trading significance. But at the time that Paul is writing to them, the city had dwindled in prominence. The city was also known to have a real fusion of religious influences. There were so many different versions of truth and for this new bunch of believers in a place like that, just like children, it would have been easy to take on board and let in everything they heard as gospel, when in fact it was not. They needed some solid, foundational truths of who this Jesus guy was. And that’s what Paul offers to them in our reading for today. He knows who he is writing to. He knows what they’re going through and what they’re experiencing. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, these words are written with a purpose. A world of conflicting ideals, diverging thoughts and increasingly divided perceptions of reality. So many different voices, so many different pushes and pulls, so many different stories and narratives. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? So let me pose this question to us today… Who am I letting in? Who and what am I letting speak into my life?

This is Colossians 1, verses 15 to 20 and I’m going to read the whole thing to us now: so buckle in…

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Amen. What a passage that is.

Especially during the Christmas period, I know I continually find myself having to have a bit of a reality check. Where am I finding truth and hope at this time? Am I putting my trust in plans, in gifts, in my consumerist habits? We are bombarded with messages that spending more, getting the latest products and the best things will make us happy. We are being told time and time again that 2020 was just a write off that needs to truly left in the past. Am I letting these storylines become my reality? Is what I’m hearing on the tele and reading on social media speaking truth to my life? Just like Paul speaks to the Colossians in these verses, I need to remember the truth I choose to put my trust in. Not blocking out and ignoring the world, but assuring that my priorities are in check. I need to adjust the volume of whose voice is speaking loudest in my ear. Here are some key truths we read in this passage that just might help us do that today:

Jesus is the Son of God. He is also fully God as the fullness of God dwells in him. He was there from the beginning of time and will be to the end. In him, all things were created and all things that are created are for him. He is supreme, sovereign and in his very nature, reconciliatory.

In a world and season of such noise, these are the truths I’m choosing to hold on to this advent.

Let’s pray…

Lord, help us to hold on to your truth and hope this Advent. Protect and guard our hearts, for your glory and honour. Amen