Lighting up for Advent

Staff_team_2015 Posted by Roger Cooke on Wed, 02 Dec 2015 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Advent didn’t feature particularly prominently in my formative years of faith and church. I was aware that there was a ‘run-in’ to Christmas called ‘Advent’ that received some coverage in church, but that was rarely explained or expounded. I grew up in a Presbyterian Church! I enjoyed the traditions of Advent candles and Advent calendars. I event liked the word…Advent.

But a significant season in the church calendar? A time infused with rich, spiritual nourishment for the soul? Something that is related to Christmas, and yet distinct, with its own symbolism, its own themes, its own hymns? These are things I’ve only discovered in more recent years.

Now, I love Advent. Every year, I seek to embrace it more fully, to enter it more deeply. During this time of waiting, I want to read, to reflect, to learn, to grow. In reality, I’m rarely successful: more than any other month, December tends to be the one when our best intentions are crowded-out. But this doesn’t stop me beginning each Advent season with a renewed sense of hope and longing.

As a staff team in CMSI, we break for a cuppa and a short devotional time each morning: a chance to chat, an opportunity to share a biblical reflection, a moment to pray together. It’s a way of reminding ourselves and one another that our personal faith, our community as a team, our communion with our partners and our call to mission are all interconnected. For each of us, what we do here is much more than a way to pay the bills.

During December, our devotions tend to focus on Advent stories and Advent themes. It’s always striking how strongly these things relate to the experiences of our partners, as they live out their faith and engage in mission in what are often very challenging contexts.

With this in mind, over the coming weeks, we hope to share some reflections on Advent that relate to our personal faith, to the CMSI family and to the work of our partners in Africa and Nepal. We’ll not post something daily – we know better than to make such commitments! But we hope you will find these reflections helpful as you make your own journey through Advent and follow the star to the place where God’s mission took flesh, the place where Love was born…at Christmas.

Tomorrow…some thoughts about waiting!

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