From The Manse

Dear Friends,

Many people do not recognise the season of Advent. Their focus is on Christmas and making sure that their homes are decorated and that presents are bought for loved ones.

For Christians, however, Advent offers us the opportunity to pause and prepare, not our homes but our hearts, that we might truly be ready to celebrate again, God’s coming to us in Jesus Christ.

Advent also reminds us that the Bible teaches us that the ONE who came in humility will one day come again in glory. We refer to this as the Second Coming. Therefore, in this season of Advent we look back and we look forward.

Though there is no specific reference in the Bible to Advent, the theme of Advent and its emphasis on waiting and preparing is thoroughly Biblical.

In Isaiah Ch 2 Vs 3 we read;

‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.

He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’

In these words we find an invitation. It is an invitation not to some but to all. It is an open invitation from God Himself. But what does the invitation ask us to do?

I believe it asks us to set aside our daily concerns for a time and to enjoy fellowship with our Maker. So let me ask, do we set aside quality time, time that is devoted to being still and enjoying the company of our Heavenly Father? Or, is it the time we have left when all other commitments have been dealt with?

We live in a world that is busy and noisy. There is much that can distract us and often, though not intentional, our time for God can be consumed by other things.

Making time for God requires effort. Perhaps that is why Isaiah said, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.’ Climbing a mountain is not the easiest thing to do. We have to be committed and determined otherwise we will not succeed. So it is with making time for God. It calls for commitment and determination. Otherwise, we will be distracted and our time for God will be reduced to less than it should be.

‘Come.’ It is an invitation to us all. And in making time for God, what are we to do?

In this season of Advent can I suggest that firstly, we reflect.

We reflect on Who God is and what in His mercy He has done for us.

We reflect on the coming of Jesus and what this means for us and the world.

Having reflected, I encourage you to then take time to re-evaluate where we are on our lives journey.

What is our level of commitment?

How much does our faith mean to us and how evident is it in the way we live and relate to one another?.

Finally, can I put it to you that through reflection and re-evaluation, we can be renewed.

Isaiah said, ‘He will teach us His ways so that we may walk in His paths.’

The daily demands of life, our concern for our families and friends, the anxiety caused by Covid-19 and the trials we all have to endure can take their toll on us. They can also crowd our minds to the point that God’s ways are supplanted by our ways with the result that we drift from God and His paths.

One of my favourite verses in the Bible is found in Isaiah Ch 40;

‘Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’

Advent. It is a time to reflect, to re-evaluate and to be renewed. It is a season of blessing and it is a season through which we can be drawn deeper into God and be awakened to the glorious truth that in Jesus Christ, He is with us now and always.

 

Every blessing,

Your Friend and Minister,

Gary J McIntyre