How prepared are you for Christmas? Do you finish your Christmas shopping months in advance or tend to leave it all until the last minute? Let us know in the comments!
As we enter the busyness of the Advent season, guest blogger, Andrea Corrie, author and member of St George & St Paul, Tiverton, shares news of the free gifts available to all.
Would you like some free gifts for Christmas? They are on offer to all, but to avail yourself of them, you have first to take a step back from the busyness that exists during this Advent period and in the run up to the celebration of the arrival of Jesus.
Step back from the presents you must wrap, the cards you must write, the tree you must decorate, the meals you must prepare, and take some time out! Perhaps take time to do as Jesus says in Matthew 11:28: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
In 1 Corinthians 13:13, Paul writes, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love,” leading some Christians to conclude that love is more important than faith or hope.
This might not seem to be a problem, unless, of course, these three attributes—faith, hope, and love—are designed by God to be mutually reinforcing, built in such a way that to diminish any one of the three is to undermine the integrity of them all. A baker will tell you that the critical elements of bread are yeast, water, flour, and salt. If we agree that unsalted bread is rather bland and conclude that salt is the greatest of these four, then we will run into problems with our bread as we pay less attention to adding flour, yeast, and water. Likewise, love that is not balanced by faith and hope undermines the very definition of biblical love.
As Christians, our faith is fuelled by God’s love for us. We don’t need our faith to be evidence based, nor do we require measurable proof. Our faith is born the moment the God-light is switched on in each and every one of us. Sometimes our faith may be stronger than others, and we may even deny it, but the Lord never turns away from us. He does not lose faith in us.
God turns our darkness into light. Where would we be without light? Even in our darkest moments, we have faith that every day, dawn will follow night. The light that we seek, especially the light after loss (which I refer to as the mourning light), is borne of the love that we feel for those whom we have lost. Whether loss is long ago or recent, love endures.
As an exercise in our quiet moments, and especially throughout Advent, lighting a candle is something that we can all do, in a small symbolic gesture which displaces the darkness. The candle flame shines out like a beacon of hope and underpins the faith and love we have in God Himself.
This advent take time to ponder anew God the coming King, and discover afresh the free gifts of Faith, Hope and Love available to us all through the Lord Jesus. Emmanuel!
(Adapted from a blog post by Andrea Corrie)
Read more from Andrea via her blog: https://andreacorriesblog.wordpress.com
Buy Andrea's latest book on Amazon here
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