As I approach my second Christmas in Rushden I feel a little bit more prepared than I did last time round. This year I know that it is appropriate, in fact it is vital, that I get my Christmas decorations out and up way before the end of the school term. (which is when I used to do it) A fact which has pleased my family no end. They have been telling me for years that I am way too tardy when it comes to putting up the tree and far too frugal with the twinkly lights. Now I know better. Rushden [and Newton!], you have taught me well. So by the beginning of December our home will be ablaze with all sorts of Christmas paraphernalia, as is befitting for a Curate of this fair town. I intend to be fully-prepared, because after all, we are in the season of Advent. The season of preparation.
Advent is an amazing time … there are calendars to plunder, carols to sing, mince pies are once again on the menu and towns light up with so many decorations that the ‘National Grid’ goes on red alert. It’s fabulous. There is such an air of expectation, such an air of knowing that something special is about to happen … but what is it that we are expecting? Presents, a break from work, a jolly time with the family? Or is it more than that?
It is during these winter months that folk often begin to ponder about the ‘spiritual’ aspects of their lives. Questions begin to rise to the surface. What is it that makes Christmas special? What is it that makes us want to make changes to our lives, come the New Year? As these musings grow and start to take shape in our mind a new unexpected urge begins to take form within us. And so it is not unsurprising to hear that the number of people who visit a place of Christian worship during the lead up to ‘the big day’ increases, as festive folk come; seeking and hoping to catch a bit of ‘Christmas Cheer’ to set them up for the holidays and keep them going when the piles of turkey and roast potatoes have all been munched and the twenty five days of Christmas film specials have run their course.
Those of us that have a faith, know and understand this urge— this yearning in the soul to reconnect afresh with the God who came in human form to redeem the world. We know that this was the only way that He could permanently reconnect us with God the Father once again so we can live this earthly life fully in step and in tune with the creator of all Creation. The birth of His Son is that step into this world, in a tangible way, that was only ever going to have one outcome. God selflessly gave of Himself by gifting us His Son. So each day we run down the stairs, swing open the doors on our advent calendars and look eagerly inside for the little treat that lets us know we are one day closer to celebrating God incarnate, Jesus born.
For those who have yet to find this faith, but have questioning thoughts floating to the surface, or an urge to peek inside the door of a Church over the Advent season, can I let you into a little secret? Outside the door to your heart there is a person waiting, patiently, for you. He never pushes His way into someone’s life. He never argues or forces His ways upon you. He just stands, waiting for you to hear His knock, hear His voice and let Him in. So I urge you, open your heart’s door, take a peek, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Rev 3.20 (NLT)
Rev Natasha Brady