Happy New Year!
No, I have not taken leave of my senses, I am just making the point that this Sunday, Advent Sunday, marks the beginning of the Church’s year in terms of its calendar.
My memories of the Advent season when I was young are that it was a rather dark time with readings and sermons that focussed on the second coming and on sin and judgment and God’s anger. There seemed to be very little looking forward to the coming of Jesus and all the joy and promise of that with the result that Christmas seemed to turn up rather suddenly and be gone as quickly.
Things are very different now. The whole season is very much more upbeat, lookingforward to the events of Jesus first coming as well as looking forward to Jesus second coming to complete and redeem that promise. Our sermon series from now to the New Year is on the theme of ‘God with us’, exploring the implications of that fact and our individual and collective response to it.
This week our topic is ‘God with us – living in his light’ with passages from Isaiah and Romans, both rich in imagery, both with a sense of urgency for us to recognise the times in which we live. It is time for us to wake up; ‘the night is nearly over, the day is almost here’, ‘put on the armour of light, clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ’. Messages to bring us light and purpose, joy and confidence in a world of darkness and confusion.
As Isaiah puts it ‘Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord’, this Advent season.