Advent is a season of anticipation, expectation and preparation. It’s a season intended to impress upon us the eternal imminence of the return of Jesus: and, with it, the promise of ultimate eradication of evil, injustice, sickness, pain, infirmity and death; and the hope of the restoration of all things into the fullness of His image and purpose. An image and purpose described in the opening of Genesis and glimpsed in the closing chapters of Revelation. Advent reminds us of who and what we are created for and how our story will end: reigning in the presence of the Lamb for ever and ever.
Advent is, of course, also a season of anticipating Christmas when we celebrate the immanence of God – Jesus really is Emmanuel: God with us. Don’t underestimate the significance of the times in which we live: it’s a pivotal time in history when there are major global, social and moral challenges to be faced; but the eternal promise is that right now we can embrace His ‘God with us’ presence. Whatever challenge you personally face, however much of an unexpected direction you find your life takes, however many possible outcomes there may be to the situations you find yourself in, Advent points to a God who is available to us, involved with us, doing life with us right now, in this moment.
Preparation for the season can involve lots of ‘to-do’ lists. Take time this Advent to press the pause button, seek His presence, trust the future to Him and welcome God into your present, everyday world. Allow the God made known in Jesus to be your advocate, counsellor and friend.
Look out in this edition for information about our Christmas events and services. Christmas Alive on December 16th will be a fresh, imaginative and creative look at the story of Christmas: it’s an amazing opportunity for our friends to begin to unwrap the gift of God at Christmas. Don’t miss our carol service a week later when we shall read once again the story told as through Scripture and sing familiar carols. In between there’s Family Fun Time for those with children on the 19th December. On Christmas morning we shall break bread together as we remember the One who came from Bethlehem (the House of Bread) to feed us with the bread of life. As we approach New Year, join us, and invite others to come with you, for our FoL family party on New Year’s Eve – and start the year with the New Year’s day walk!
Speaking of the New Year, and as part of preparing for the future, Paul will be spending 3 months on placement at the parish church, St Peter & St Paul, in Cromer. He will be providing leadership support in the absence of the incumbent and gaining further experience in the context of a different church. So Paul will be away from FoL in the new year from 1st January until 31st March – and Colette will often be with him. Be assured that they will return and we shall all be very pleased to see them both back here in April!
Have a blessed and peaceful Christmas.
Love and prayers Stephen & Pippa