The Advent Collective – 4 December 2020

The Advent Collective is a new daily reflection drawing from Bible passages that are commonly read in this season of Advent.  Our hope is that it will help us to grow as we live out our faith in the everyday moments of life.

Hello and welcome to the Advent Collective day 5. I’m Clarissa. I’m married to Tom and we have 3 children.

Todays passage is Isaiah 9:1-7.

Do you like the winter?  The long, dark cold days?  This year especially with all people have endured I think entering this season (as the afternoons and mornings get darker) may for some feel harder than normal. How are you doing with living in the present right now? Are you ‘grinning and bearing it’ and just looking forward to next summer when we have all had the vaccine, days are warmer and life can feel more normal and full of colour?

On a jog the other night it occurred to be afresh just how beautiful the Christmas lights are that people have began to put on trees and outside their houses. It may be hard to endure the cold and dark days of winter, but if it were summer all year round we wouldn’t get to appreciate those little lights that make the dark not so dark anymore.

Here in Isaiah prior to the passage for today we can read how the people were looking at the world for their fulfilment. Isaiah wrote that God warned them not to follow the ‘way of people’ (Isaiah 8: 11) and yet they feared what other people feared and they consulted mediums instead of God. Then we read they were ‘distressed and hungry…looking upward’ ( Is 8:21) they cursed God, and then they were‘thrust into utter darkness’ (Is 8:22). BUT God’s plan wasn’t to leave them there; No! Then we read our chapter for today. I’d really encourage you to read the whole thing but this is verse 6; ‘For us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’

I read in an article in the Times Newspaper recently that the secret to happiness as we live with the current Government restrictions is to celebrate and take pleasure in the small things; maybe a the cup of tea in the morning or laughing together. I love this and I do think we can all benefit from enjoying the small simple things in life and giving thanks for them can bring much joy. I for one love my cup of tea, my warm coat and boots and my electric blanket- these things definitely bring me pleasure and make life more comfortable, but I would be missing something if I thought that was what life was about. We can’t fix our own lives. My Dad (who wouldn’t mind me saying is not really one for a philosophical thought) once said when talking about his own situation “ comfort was never on the agenda “. It is true like in the passage in Isaiah that we cannot escape that we live in a broken world. This year I think the brokenness of our world has been even more evident. There has been so much pain, loneliness, loss, separation, isolation, grief and what has felt like an endless race to run, and yet we can have hope because God always had a plan. We read ‘Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress…the people walking in darkness have seen a great light’ (v1-2). He is the light! Jesus who we are waiting for comes and shatters the burdens, he fights for us and is so powerful the ‘government will be on his shoulders’. He comes as a baby, meaning he knows what is like to be human which means he can be called ‘ wonderful counsellor’ (v6) he journeys with you; ‘Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’  (v6) He has overwhelming power and of this power and peace ‘ there will be no end’ (v7). Do you want some of that? I know I do! Well guys if you believe in Jesus then he already lives in you though the HolySpirit.

God showed extraordinary generosity to us in Jesus. Today may be dark, cold and life not easy. But if you know Jesus then you are a person of the light, my question for you is how are you going to use that light?  Like those little Christmas lights you don’t need a lot of light to make the darkness less dark. You do need first to admit though that you can’t make the light yourself.  Maybe you need to repent for times when you have relied on things of this world or looked to ourselves for fulfilment. What’s in your hands today? Lets offer it to God and let his light in us blessthe lives of those around us.