The Church's year sets aside the weeks leading up to Christmas as a time for reflection. Advent is intended a time for reappraisal and re-examination - the reality, of course, is often somewhat different! So we will need to follow Jesus's example and deliberately create some quiet times amidst the pressures that the run up to Christmas inevitably brings.
It's often in the quiet of a retreat hour or a pleasant amble through the countryside or in the stillness of the church at the midweek communion that the solution to the seemingly over whelming competing demands on our time becomes clear to us. And we need to make time to absorb the real meaning of Christmas. As I have heard the Burchetts Green School children sing: 'Don't be too busy for Christmas / Don't be too busy to sing / Of this most wonderful story / And of our most wonderful King.'
May I wish you a very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.
December is upon us. Dark evenings, often cold and always very, very busy! Presents to buy, decoration to put up, all those 'end of term' events and, for those of you working, trying to get everything done that has to be done before the Christmas break. For me as vicar, the run up to Christmas is a wonderful time, so many delightful events to attend - school Nativity Plays, Christmas parties, carol singing around the villages and much more. But it's also a demanding time: there's so much to prepare for and so many things I must do.
Learning from Jesus
However busy things got for Jesus he made time to withdraw from the immediate pressures of life, often going to a lonely hillside where he could be quiet and reflect and pray. He knew that he needed quality time with his heavenly Father, away from the demands that the crowds were imposing on him. Sometimes these short breaks refocused his life - he came away knowing his heavenly Father wanted him to do things differently.