Advent 18

December 2022

Emergency exit. Advent and Christmas can be unduly stressful times: be prepared. It can be useful to have a plan – an emergency exit – for when the situation gets too much for you to cope with. Things can go wrong, develop in unexpected directions, or become more complex than first thought. Rather than panicking or getting cross or agitated, it is better to have in mind a calm exit strategy. Having such a plan may lessen your anxiety and actually enable you to deal with the situation more effectively and without having to use the emergency exit. An emergency exit is not about defeat. Rather it is about humility, about knowing and being able to admit to your limitations.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;

   whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

   of whom shall I be afraid? 

For he will hide me in his shelter

   in the day of trouble;

he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;

   he will set me high on a rock. 

Psalm 27:1,5

Advent 8

December 2022

This is the main entrance to Upnor Castle. A large, robust door designed to withstand invaders and intruders alike. A door to both intimidate and heighten one’s awareness of the importance of the occupants of the castle. In life we too may face doors – opportunities- that seem daunting, beyond our measure. But here there is a little wicket gate too small for a knight on horse back but big enough for a person to slip through. Perhaps with a little honesty and humility, we too will find that more accessible door. 

Turning it round, are there doors in our society that might seem too daunting for someone to enter. Are there ways we can create wicket gates to ease their passage?

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. Matthew 19:24

Advent 5

December 2022

These two colourful doors are from a street in Norway. Both radically different yet neither door stands out as being more important than another. We are often faced with multiple choices in life and feel the pressure to make the right choice. We can fret over which choice to make, regret the choice we do make and convince ourselves that we have made a mistake. But is it not possible that there may be two or even more equally different but equally right choices? The choice we make is no better nor any worse than the choices we do not make; just different.

Similarly there is no one right way to mark Advent nor one right way to celebrate Christmas. Let us not over worry about the choices we make and rather have the humility and the flexibility to go along with the choices others may make.

The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps. Proverbs 16.9