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Advent: Look both ways before proceeding

By REV. ED BASTIAN

 Many of us jump ahead in our thinking this time of the year to Christmas, the birth of Jesus. The church has introduced a season called Advent, to sort of slow us down, and have us look both ways so that we can proceed successfully.

 Advent means "coming" or "arrival." Now, Christians are looking, as I said, to the birth of Jesus, an event in the past. That was Jesus' first arrival.

 We believe, too, that there is a second. That's obviously in the future as we anticipate then a time of peace, joy and nothing but love. We're not there yet. I'm sure you've noticed.

 We trust, though, that God will bring it about. The apostle Paul describes our in-between experience as "the whole creation groaning in travail." We know it as things not always being fair.

 We have a choice in Christ. We can give up and give in to injustice, anger and bigotry, or we can love God and our neighbours as ourselves as Jesus commanded above all.

 If we look both ways, we'll be encouraged to do the latter. I visit a woman at Harbour View Haven who's very limited by age and infirmity, but who commends to us this latter choice. Her situation has perhaps contributed to her patience in stopping and looking back to Jesus' birth and ahead in faith to His second coming.

 As a result, she's decided to offer no complaints and, if possible, offer compliments. When I was leaving the other day, she said, "You bring joy into my life." My thoughts were to attribute the same to her.

 There's a lot pulling at us for attention, especially perhaps this time of the year. Take time to stop and reflect. Take time, as a favourite hymn says, to be holy. There'll be a little less groaning from you and from others if you do.

 Each day will be a blessing as is God's wish for you.

  December 6, 2006  
 
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