Sunday, 2 December 2018

Pause In Advent #1 - Getting On A Bit!

I've been thinking about my first Advent Pause for ages. Last Sunday, an idea started to develop in my brain, during Bob's sermon. I firmly put it to one side, and kept listening [being a dutiful wife and church member!] but during this past week, things have started to make sense.
In the past, I've heard dozens of sermons that have asked me to 'consider how the young woman Mary felt, being told she was to be the mother of the Messiah' and 'would any of us be able to honestly reply "I am the Lord's servant, may it happen as you have said" ?'
But this year - maybe because I am finding the daily early morning start more of a struggle than it used to be, perhaps because I'm relishing my role as Matriarch, with a delightful granddaughter and a recently acquired son-in-law, possibly due to seemingly interminable attempts to get my future State Pension organised, or just my aching knees after a day standing in the rain being an enthusiastic angel on our Church Stand at a community event...whatever, this year, I really do feel I am 'getting on a bit'

Bob was preaching about the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist** from Luke 1
‘How can I be sure of this?’ said Zechariah to the angel. ‘I’m an old man! My wife’s not as young as she used to be, either!’
And that really resonated with me. Bob is now in his early sixties, and his wife isn't as young as she used to be! I like to think I am still capable of incessant activity, 'filling the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run' as Kipling wrote. But truth be told, some days towards the end of the minute, I do not run the distance, but rather painfully plod towards its completion.
I don't want to give up doing things [for my family, my friends, my community, or for the Kingdom of God]  Like my late father, I would rather 'burn out than rust out'.
And I looked again at the new Advent Logo and realised what it is saying. Not stop! but pause...
It is perfectly OK to admit that my energy levels are depleted, that I need to pause, and take a breath - then I will be better equipped to get going again later. That it is not a sin to send apologies to friends at Homegroup, miss the bible Study and be in bed by 9pm, or buy a dessert to take to a Christmas Event instead of spending the afternoon baking one. It doesn't matter if my Christmas decorations are not Martha-Stewart-Perfect and in place by 1st of December. 
An occasional pause is not the same as coming to a total stop - and for my health and sanity, and that of those around me, I need to learn that lesson. Jesus didn't say to his disciples [in Mark 6] that they had to stop completely, but just learn to take a proper break now and then, and pause in His presence.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

**This brilliant picture of Zechariah and the Angel is the work of Martha Chengadu, a gifted artist from our congregation. She has produced four 'angel' pieces for display in our church over Advent. They are very reminiscent of the work of He Qi, the contemporary Chinese Christian artist, who seeks to present his faith using  'whole world art'.


  1. Sometimes, a pause is just what is needed; to catch our breath, to take stock of the situation, to contemplate, to make any adjustments, if needed, before we continue. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Exactly how I'm feeling right now, Angela and with retirement looming for me next May, I'm terribly unsure of my future financially. I will miss the payslips every month, sure but can my knees keep up with t he daily grind and I can honestly say I'm heartily sick of getting up with the alarm every morning at 7am at the golden age of nearly 65!!It's all very well having the 'freedom' of retirement but you also need the financial back-up to support it.

  3. I understand how hard it is to come to terms with "slowing down" especially when you have always been a energetic, busy person, ready for anything. However, it means there is more time to appreciate the sunset, enjoy a cup of tea with a friend or walk the dog in the open air.

  4. Oh, yes! It's the best sort of slowing, the listening and waiting kind. There's a message in our aging, our slowing, that we couldn't understand when we were younger. Yay!

  5. This is so true! Thank you for a wonderful post.

  6. Ah, so true!! Since I was at a Baptist service yesterday, we must've had the same reading! You are right to relook at your Pause for Advent logo-it is much better to slow down and accept that things take a bit longer than to get burnt out. I've got a flute friend with Chronic Fatigue because of that. Thanks for organising the Pause again.

  7. This is something I've learned over the past's not a crime, or a sin, to say Sorry, I can't...and most people are extremely understanding.


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