The bells of waiting Advent ring…or Advent Adventure! (Thought for December 2017)

December 12, 2017

in Monthly comment, Uncategorized

Sir John Betjeman’s famous poem of Christmas begins:

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again …

Now this was written in 1954 and that second line takes me back to the sort of heating that was often found in church and school halls—very slow to get going, but providing a steady warmth just around it, though not noticeable if you were further away in the room.

Might that be a bit like us as Christians, if one can speak for others – we have the life of Christ, that may have taken a while to light the ‘boiler’ of our heart, but now, and perhaps for many years since we came to know Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we give out a glow of spiritual life that, we trust, warms the hearts of those around us. But what of those further away, still spiritually cold. Do we reach them with the fire of Christ?
The poem above starts with mention of Advent bells. Church bells traditionally rang to remind parishioners that it was time to come to worship. We’ve never had bells at Rehoboth -non-conformists don’t go in for such things!

But thinking of Advent – its meaning ‘The arrival of a notable person or thing’, and for the Christian church it is the four weeks leading up to December 24th, when readings, prayers and thoughts are focused on the coming Saviour, both as he came as a baby, but more for his coming glorious return. But might it be said that our ‘Tortoise stove’ hearts continue just to warm a few people, as is our custom?
It occurs to me that as the word ‘Advent’ stems from the Latin root Adventus which means ‘arrival’, this is not far from another Latin word Adventurus meaning ‘Adventure’ and signifying something that is ‘about to happen’.

What do you think about renaming it ‘Advent Adventure’? We’re not just waiting for Christmas 2017. That will soon be gone, but also perhaps we should not just be ‘waiting and watching, looking above’ as the hymn says, but should we see Advent as ongoing, as an adventure in our faith and trust in the Lord.
I’m reminded of the shepherds who, ‘when they had seen him (baby Jesus), they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed’.Luke 2:17-18 There was unaccustomed eloquence for you. Shepherds who, in those days were thought little or nothing of.
Or Peter, John and the other apostles after their release from the priestly high court in Acts 4. Following prayer ‘they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.’ v31.That was the occasion when the Rulers and elders ‘saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men, (and) they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. V13  We may be ordinary, but we’re not unschooled, are we?

Might the Lord be asking us to commit ourselves to an adventure with him – perhaps a new step in our lives, new risks for God in 2018? It will require our concentrated commitment and, who knows, our ‘tortoise stove’ hearts might burst with the life and love of Christ!



Dec 2017

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