Hello everyone! On Tuesday evening my friends Fred and Brian came round to plan our service for December 2nd at Harlow Hill, which made the experience special for me; it felt as though I was going to be sharing in a service with friends as I do when I lead worship at my church, Wesley Chapel. I had a busy week at work and saw my lady at Talking Space after getting our gardener to do a final tidy up in the garden before winter set in and for once we were fortunate with a window in the weather; so now it is neater although the garden is like a quagmire at the moment! On December 1st I went and saw the display of Christmas Trees and had lunch with my friend Joan. She has become a good friend this year and has become more involved in the local church at Trinity Chapel, since losing her husband this year after more than 40 years of marriage. She is singlehandedly inviting more people to the church to share in social aspects. From preaching there I know a few of the congregation and our superintendant minister Mark and his wife are pastorally caring and drawing more people in to worship with them.
On Sunday December 2nd I led worship at Harlow Hill together with the worship leaders Fred and Brian, friends of mine and former members of Oatlands Chapel. The first Advent Candle was lit and Brian led the opening part of the service, although Fred led the opening prayers. I did a children’s address about being expectant and ready. I talked about the different alarms we hear, the sirens of a police car, a fire engine and an ambulance which signal that something has happened, an emergency and the services are rushing to people’s aid. However an alarm clock wakes us up to get us ready for a new day. It is helping us be alert and awake and that is the message of Advent; we are to be expectant and ready to meet our Lord often in the most unexpected places. Jesus came into a world of chaos, turmoil, oppression and exploitation of the most vulnerable and powerless to show us that God was prepared to come and share the suffering and pain and powerlessness of this world. The world today has not changed and we need to remember that our Lord still comes each day to be alongside us in this same world where the poor and powerless are still exploited. However we need to be open and trusting as a child in our Father in heaven and ready to meet him. We are aware of our frailty and our need of the help of Jesus; we have no illusions about being perfect and recognise our dependence on Jesus to grow more like him. May we be expectant and ready to meet our Lord, living each moment in the expectation of his arrival in our lives and then we will be enabled to share Jesus’ unconditional love and acceptance with a needy world each day. Jesus does not just come at Christmas but he is ready to come each day to be our friend, comfort and supporter as we welcome him into our hearts.