Thought for the Week provides a Verse, Thought and Prayers for the week ahead. We trust you will find these helpful and encouraging in these times.
This has unquestionably been a year like no other we have experienced. Familiar routines have been disrupted and those aspects of life that we thought we could never contemplate doing differently have had to change. As some have commented, rule books have been ripped up.
None of us is immune from tragedy, trouble or trials in the normal course of events; the global pandemic has brought further hardship to all and compounded the difficult times faced by most – through illness, vulnerability, poverty, exploitation, loss.
We all have been forced to adapt to new ways, but for many this is a time of real struggle.
However, there are tangible signs of hope. In recent weeks, there has been the news of potential new vaccines to tackle coronavirus. News reports have been filled with encouraging words – “another dose of much needed hope”, “a path through the pandemic”, “the light at the end of the tunnel has just got brighter”.
Christmas is coming … but how we celebrate will be very different from usual. In a way I am looking forward to that although there are some traditions that I will really miss!
What if we can embrace these changed times? The season of Advent leading up to Christmas is a time of preparation, a time when we reflect on the coming of Jesus. This year we can step back from some of the usual busyness. Can we set aside some old and comfortable understandings of Jesus – understandings that can hinder us from truly seeing him?
Perhaps, just perhaps, we can receive Jesus in new ways, more fully and deeply, in a fresh Advent coming.
During these weeks of Advent let us take time to journey into God’s story; and be expectant as we open ourselves to what God will say to us.
Jesus came into a world that was waiting. Bringing light to the darkness. Bringing hope to a world that is lost and full of brokenness. Jesus brings hope to those who are afraid, those who are burdened, those who grieve, those who yearn for all that is best for this world. This is not a naïve optimism, but hope rooted in reality and in God with us. In all circumstances, hope in him carries us forward.
May we be filled with the hope that Jesus brings – God’s gift of hope.
Hope for the present, for the future, forever; and hope that we are also called to share with those around us, through our words and our actions.
With Us – A Christmas Poem
Lord Jesus Christ,
Your world awaits you.
In the longing of the persecuted for justice;
in the longing of the poor for prosperity;
in the longing of the privileged for riches greater than wealth;
in the longing of our hearts for a better life;
and in the song of your Church,
expectation is ever present.
O come, Lord, desire beyond our greatest needs.
O come, Lord, liberator of humanity.
O come, Lord, O come, Immanuel.
Prayer from the Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland. Used with permission of the Church of Scotland.