Ros's November letter
Life can become very busy so that important things get pushed out, especially at this time of year as we wind up towards Christmas, with extra shopping trips and visits to family and friends to fit in. That’s why my friend Jean and I started taking a week in November for Christmas preparation. We realized that it made the following month a little less busy if we had spent time away sorting our services and some of our personal Christmas things like our Christmas let for friends and family. At least it means we use a variety of carols.
We both find it necessary to go away for the week as there are too many distractions at home. In any case it’s a good opportunity for the two of us to catch up with each other’s life and has the bonus of giving us different places to explore. We started by going to the Lake District, followed by the Yorkshire Wolds. We’ve also been to the Welsh borders, Somerset, and for the last two years, Rutland. Places with immense natural beauty for us to explore, which is another reason for going away. This year we are off to familiar territory in Chester-Le-Street near Durham City. This won’t stop us getting out for short walks on the days when the weather allows.
Sometimes familiarity stops us getting the most out of things. We start to take them for granted and begin not to notice them. Sometimes we are in danger of treating God like that. We overlook him and don’t notice when he does something in our lives and forget to say ‘thank you’ for all that he is to us and all that he does in our lives. We get so focussed on everything in our lives and the things that need to be done and the mundane essentials of life that we push God out or give him a very brief acknowledgment.
My computer has a screen saver and I use my photos from the same month last year – so I’ve just switched to November 2017 photos. While my computer is warming up, a process that seems to take a long time and which can’t be speeded up, it uses photos from Microsoft. A recent one has caught my attention because it is of a mountain on one side which grabs the attention as it sparkles in the sunlight and is brightly coloured. The sky is a lovely mixture of pinks and blues – a sunrise or sunset. It was a while before I began to see behind the obvious and realized that there were stars twinkling in the sky and a misty scene in the surrounding area. But you had to look carefully to see these and take your eyes off the obvious features to be surprised by the hidden. This is what we need to do in our lives. To find space to draw breath and to see God at work.
Maybe this year we need to create some space in the run up to Christmas to remind ourselves of what it is really all about. There will be an opportunity to do so during Advent. It will all start on Saturday 1st December with a Retreat morning. Why not book in your diary now, even if only 30 minutes is all you can spare. Come along to the church and start off Advent with God in a peaceful environment, letting him breathe life into you and your Christmas.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light… (Isaiah 9:2)