28. Nov, 2018

Ros's December letter

GREETINGS FROM CHESTER-LE-STREET

I’m writing this whilst staying in County Durham with my friend Jean, doing our Christmas preparation. We’re on our third visit to her other home this year. Each visit has been different and this one has taken on a life of its own, as we have constantly had to adapt our plans. There have been some highs and joys, but also some lows and sadness. As I’ve explored the Christmas story for our services these themes have been repeated in the Gospel accounts. Life is never straightforward and often takes some surprising twists and turns. But we see God’s presence throughout and his protection at work.

The house, place and area here are all familiar to both of us. I’ve been reminded of the familiarity of the events of the Christmas story and how unchanging the central theme of the incarnation is. But I’ve also been reminded of the element of surprise involved in the events. Lives were turned upside down and were never to be the same again. I met up with some of my friends from my time living in this area and discovered the surprising turns their lives have taken, and had a lot to share with them regarding my own life.

As I’ve explored the gospel accounts, much of what I read was so familiar, but then I would stumble across a word or phrase I’ve not noticed before which set me off thinking in new ways and making new connections and discoveries.

I’ve also been taken by surprise by the changes that have occurred since my last visit. A lot of redevelopment has happened, with new buildings; even the garage where my car was serviced had gone and the site had been had been transformed into a garden. My favourite walk at Souter Lighthouse was not the same as the coast had been eroded so that the footpath had been moved and my favourite view can no longer be enjoyed without putting one’s life in danger on the crumbling cliffs. The carpark where I used to leave my car has disappeared into the sea! I was challenging as it seemed like a different place.

This Advent we will be engaging with a very familiar passage of Scripture, from Isaiah 9. We’ll be looking at the themes the prophecy introduces, and hopefully making connections with the events surrounding the birth of Jesus and with our own lives and times. I’ve decided personally to dig deeper on a daily basis during Advent by exploring further the words and phrases that have bubbled to the surface this week. You are welcome to join me in this as I share the word or phrase each day.

May this Christmas be special as we open our lives for God to transform us over this season.

The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned… for to us a child is born; to us a son is given…

Finally let me wish you a Christmas full of joy, hope, peace and love. May 2019 be blessed by God.

Ros