#AdventWord #Celebrate #慶祝
You would think that it would be hard to overlook really good news. I mean, who would miss a chance to celebrate? But, too often, we miss the good news, the real good news, of December 25.
But let’s not do that this year. Because no matter how you look at it, God coming into the world for no other reason but love is, when you think about it, incredibly good news—news that is worth making the time to #Celebrate.
St. Mary’s Church, Holy Island. All around is darkness, but the church door is open, don’t miss it. Don’t miss the chance to celebrate. Don’t miss the real good news of December 25.
Today is Christmas Day, and the final post for Advent Word 2018 ~ hope you’ve enjoyed them. Let’s celebrate ~ have a wonderful Christmas!
#AdventWord #Peace #平安
As Advent people, we are to wait, slow down, free ourselves from distractions and search for the peace that God has promised us through the coming of the ruler from Bethlehem. Be still and allow the gift of peace, the fruit of love, to be found within your being rather than in your doing. Remember that Jesus is the source of all peace.
A cross in the Holy Island churchyard against the wall of the priory ruins.
It’s Christmas Eve: wishing you all a peaceful and blessed Christmas!
#AdventWord #Persist #堅持
The season of Advent has almost reached its climax. It has been a journey, certainly for Mary and Joseph. They experienced first hand what it meant to persist, to keep going until all that was promised was fulfilled. It might have been tempting to take a shortcut–“Let’s just make an offering or a sacrifice and stay home.” But God does not want shortcuts. God does not call us to take the easy way. What God does require is a people who persist on the journey, who make all the necessary preparations to truly receive the Christ child in our hearts and our lives.
Along the Holy Island seashore when the tide is out, it’s fun to search the rocks and rockpools for fish or whatever marine life can be found. The tiny shells are barnacles, while the big conical ones are limpets, officially aquatic snails. Limpets cling tight to the rock crevices when the tide is out, but when covered in water, off they slide to graze on algae. For us to try to prise them off the rocks at low tide is virtually impossible without damaging them. They cling tenaciously, stubbornly resisting whatever might try to remove them. Even the strongest men and women are no match for limpets. Persistance, indeed, and a challenge to us in our journey of faith.
#AdventWord #Expect #期待
We are pummeled daily by advertisements that, in not so hidden messages, tell us what we should “expect” out of life–more, better, bigger things.
What if, however, the messages we received prompted us to expect not what we might get, but what we might give? When, invited by God to become the most famous unmarried teenage expectant mother in history, Mary did not ask “What do I get out of this arrangement?” No, she said, “here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) Mary did not think about what she could expect to receive. She simply gave her life, a living sacrifice, to the God who called her. What do you “expect” this Advent season?
See all these people? They’ve just arrived on Holy Island and are walking from the car park into the village. A steady stream, but in summer this path is choc-a-block with visitors. Everyone comes with a sense of expectancy, looking forward to a day out on Holy Island – perhaps a visit to the priory or castle, coffee or lunch at one of the cafes, a walk on the beach or up to the hill, a bit of shopping, and a visit to the church. Many pilgrims and visitors have found that their faith has been awakened, refreshed or renewed by their visit, and they return home keen to share their experiences with others.
“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God” (William Carey)
#AdventWord #Sign #符號
Many of the signs we encounter are portents of potential danger. They are intended to keep us safe. Watch for falling rocks. Know the warning signs of cancer. Turn around don’t drown. But in Advent, the signs we encounter are portents of impending possibility. They offer us forgiveness, blessing, love. Watch for love. Know the warning signs of love. Turn around and accept love. As poet Christina Rossetti says, “Love shall be our token . . . Love for plea and gift and sign.”
Signpost in Holy Island village. Choose the way you want to go. Choose the way you want to live. Think of all the major decisions that have been made on Holy Island since the beginning of time, decisions to come, to leave, to flee, to return, to build, to create, to establish, to settle, to pray, to worship, to love. Christmas is coming, let us choose the way of love.
#AdventWord #Ablaze #燃燒
John proclaims the message that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. These words evoke images of the Pentecostal tongues of fire as the Holy Spirit descends upon the followers of Jesus, inspiring them and sending the gospel message into the world. What sets your heart on fire? How are you ablaze with the good news of Jesus? How are you spreading love in the world? Where is the fire in your baptism?
Sunrise on Holy Island, taken at the Lindisfarne Priory ruins, with the castle in the background. In the top left, a distant aeroplane flies overhead. In the same year that Aidan came to Holy Island to establish his monastery, 635, so the first recorded Christian missionaries reached China. Those early travelers took the Gospel on foot and on horseback, taking months to travel distances we can now fly to in a matter of hours. The power of fire, whether in our engines or in our hearts, has changed the world. Long may it continue. Set our hearts ablaze today, O Lord, for you!
#AdventWord #Wash #洗淨
In Luke, John tells us, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming…” In Advent, we use water to clean and prepare our homes to welcome family and friends as we celebrate the coming of Christ together. May each act of washing, cleaning, and rinsing remind us of our baptisms and prepare our hearts once again to receive Christ into our homes, our hearts, and into our world.
Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island has just reopened after an 18-month, £3m, restoration project to repair the castle from long-term water damage to the walls and roof. During the restoration, 17th century wall paintings were uncovered in the old kitchen and one of the bedrooms; dating from the time when the castle was a military base. “An exciting and rare find” says the National Trust, “suggesting that there might have been more to life at the castle than just a military base”.
Washing implies cleaning, cleansing and refreshing. Advent is a chance for us all to undertake a mini-restoration project on our own hearts and lives. We never know what treasures we might unearth in the process!