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SUNDAY 5th DECEMBER: THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

 

READINGS

Baruch 5: 1-9

Luke 3: 1-6

 

REFLECTION

 

There is no substitute for preparation. A successful outcome is usually dependent on thorough preparation. Anyone involved in decorating a house is well aware that an excellent finish relies heavily on good preparation. Tedious as it can be, rooms have to be cleared, cracks and gaps have to be repaired and surfaces have to be sanded and smoothed. That is why Margaret has always done the decorating wherever we have lived. I would just paint round the wardrobe instead of moving it. Similarly a professional musician can only give a masterly performance when years have been spent on practice and developing skills and hours in rehearsals; an artist may well have several sketches and outlines prior to the execution of the final painting. A sportsperson can only give of their best in a competition when fitness and training schedules have been completed. Preparation is an essential part of the final process – and that is where John the Baptist comes in.

 

In our Gospel passage today, Luke emphasises three things about John: he was called by God in the wilderness; he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and he was the one who prepared the way of the Lord. John is essentially the “preparer”, the one who goes before. His role is to alert the people and to make sure they are ready to receive the message of Jesus. This is done through reference to the prophets, particularly Isaiah and Malachi. As Isaiah in the Old Testament announced that God was about to bring his people home from their long exile, and that nothing should stand in his way, and Malachi stated that God was sending his messenger to prepare the way, so John is there to make this wake-up call to the people. He invites them to listen to the word of God and to undergo baptism to show their change of heart.

 

We are aware of the need for practical preparations for Christmas, but what about the spiritual preparation? The essential ingredient in John's preaching was the call for repentance – a change of heart and mind. We can so easily get caught up in a way of life which is less than we would wish or desire. At times we are less honest with ourselves or with others. The season of Advent offers the opportunity to change things round; to look at ourselves and our behaviour in the light of God's loving forgiveness. We are encouraged to prepare for the coming of Jesus by refocussing our hearts and minds on him and the love that he shows. The preaching of John the Baptist challenges us to look beyond the immediate and to be alert to the qualities which really matter and which can transform our lives.

 

PRAYER

 

Lord Jesus Christ,

teach us to anticipate your return

by preparing the way for your coming;

to catch a glimpse of your kingdom

through living by its values today.

Live in us now, so that the day may come

when we live with you and all your people

for all eternity, your will complete and your promise fulfilled.

This prayer we ask in your name.

Amen.

 

 

Every Blessing,

Canon Dave                                                  4th December 2021

Canon Dave’s Weekly Message

Dear Friends,

Whilst travelling on the train from Doncaster to Sheffield during last week I encountered a highly amusing conversation between two ladies who sat opposite me in the carriage. One said, “ I don't feel very Chrismassy yet but tomorrow I am going to the festive markets in Matlock which may make me feel more Chrismassy.” The other said, “I know what you mean and I feel exactly the same. There is so much to think about and everything is so expensive.” I chuckled and thought to myself, what does feeling Chrismassy actually mean?

CHRISTMAS CONCERT

Thursday 9th December 7.30pm at St. Anne's Beeley

'The Garden Singers' (A new local choir) will sing traditional carols, new ones and some from the Middle Ages

Admission free with all donations to church funds.

 

SERVICE OF LESSONS AND CAROLS

Tuesday 21st December 7.30pm at St. Peter's Edensor

 

SERVICE OF LESSONS AND CAROLS

Christmas Eve 6pm at St. Anne's Beeley