Sunday 29 November 2009

Advent Reflection #1

Pause in Advent Logo from Floss

I have been pondering about what to write since Floss challenged us [here] to share our thoughts on the four weekends in Advent. Advent means 'coming' or 'arrival' and in the Church Calendar it marks out that time in which we prepare ourselves to celebrate both the coming of Jesus as a baby to Bethlehem, and His Second Coming when He will wind up history and all creation will acknowledge Him as King.

As a child, I remember preachers often ending services with benedictions which included the words "Till Jesus comes or calls". Slightly puzzled, I asked Mum about this - surely it is the same thing? "I expect the minister will call round later" means exactly the same as "I expect the minister will come round later" - doesn't it?

saint Mum explained to me that in one sense the words did mean the same, but used in this context, Christians were using a sort of code [which, she explained, deeply sound people call "The Language Of Zion" in the belief it makes them seem Very Holy!]

When Jesus Comes means "The Second Coming, End Of Time, Gabriel blows his trumpet - and Jesus comes for everybody"

When Jesus Calls means "When He calls a person by name,and says 'time's up for you - this night your soul is required of you' - the moment of death for an individual

Mum went on to point out that none of us knows what lies ahead- that when the preacher said that, he was reminding us that before the next Sunday service, Jesus could return in Glory and we would all be with Him [He had come for us] - or maybe we would be back next Sunday, but realise that there was a space in the pew in front because one of our friends had died that week [He had called for them]

So that, concluded Mum, is the preacher's way of reminding us to be ready - to live for Jesus every day in the week, to use every opportunity to share His love with people, to remember that our time on this earth is limited, and to make the best use of it for Him. And she quoted one of her favourite mottoes "Only one life, 'twill soon be past - only what's done for Jesus will last"

On Friday I went into school with Tom our Village Rector to present some awards for the winners of the Village Christmas Card Competition [amusing moment when a colleague saw me with Man-In-Dog-Collar and said "Hello Ang, Hello Bob" and we had to explain he was another clergyman and not my spouse!!] The children were singing a piece in three parts - each group singing a different song although they harmonised beautifully together. The whole thing sums up beautifully the three ideas of my reflection - He may call for me, He will come for me, and when and until He does, I want to praise and serve Him.

1 - Swing low, sweet chariot, comin' for to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot, comin' for to carry me home.

2 - Oh, when the Saints go marching in,
Oh, when the Saints go marching in,
Lord, I want to be in that number,
When the Saints go marching in.

      3 - I'm gonna sing, I'm gonna dance, Hallelujah!


  1. Thank you for this, Angela. I would love to have heard the children singing.

    The boys and I read 'TOPZ' Bible notes for children every night, and yesterday's reading was the Wise and Foolish Virgins (although the Good News Bible, very boringly, doesn't call them that).

    We talked about what being prepared for Jesus might involve, and they were a bit stunned when TOPZ told them it was basically all the usual stuff of their Christian lives! I think they were partially relieved, and partially wishing there was something wierd they could do...

  2. Hello Angela! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! Have a great Sunday!

  3. Lovely advent thoughts and so focused in on the Meaning of it all. Thank you.

  4. I'm so looking forward to Jesus Christ's return as well. What an awesome celebration that will be! :)


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