Advent is the great season of anticipation in the Christian calendar. Yet this year we may find it harder than ever to anticipate Jesus’ birth as we tune in to war in Europe, near famine in Yemen, Somalia or Afghanistan, conditions of inequality and poverty here in our own communities as families struggle against rising costs and greater insecurity.
I have had the privilege this year of seeing some truly life-giving examples of Christian service in Bradford, Birmingham and elsewhere across the boundaries of ethnicity, faith, or wealth into which we slip all too easily in our habit shaped lives. Those encounters have their roots in the way we are made, each one of us, in our need to love and be loved. That defining feature of being human whatever our beliefs.
The great Benedictine Father Thomas Keating calls the love of God ‘not just any kind of these [human] loves, but is everything that is good and beautiful and true in each of those relationships, magnified trillions of times to a presence that is burning with love, a fire that is so intense that we can’t see it in this life without turning into a grease spot.’
Now that, who or wherever we are, is something worth anticipating.
– David French, churchwarden Stoke Abbott