Letter from Rev Bladen

December Magazine 2020

As we move into December many children and some of us adults too will be starting the festive ritual of opening Advent Calendars. Each day a new door is opened with anticipation and excitement as a new picture or a piece of chocolate is revealed; with the opening of each door we move closer to the ultimate door, the final door on the calendar, where the best picture and the largest piece of chocolate will be revealed.

The season of Advent in the church takes us Sunday by Sunday through a series of stories from the Bible which reveal God’s love for us and His rescue mission for our lives. Through Advent we wait with anticipation to hear once again that wonderful ancient Christmas story of how God came as a babe in a manger to declare His love for us.

This Advent feels a little different, we still have the shadow of the pandemic hanging over us and as I write this, we still don’t know whether we will be coming out of lockdown in time to celebrate Christmas. With so much uncertainty it’s sometimes difficult to look forward and difficult to find hope. The people of the Bible lived through incredibly difficult times; wars, disasters, both natural and economic, times of exile and they lived through times of plague and through all their many times of trouble God constantly gave them promises to hang on to as they waited. Promises that gave them hope and helped them to look forward to better times.

I think this Advent we could all do with a bit more Hope… So, I thought we’d have an Advent Calendar of Hope… the Hope that comes from God’s promises to each of us from the Bible. So, here are the first few days…. Doors 1 – 5… After that you can find the rest of the doors opening each day on the Church Facebook page at www.facebook.com/unitedbenefice. The Bible says there is power in God’s word, so I invite you to say the promises out-loud, over yourself, your family and your situation.

Door 1 …Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
Door 2 …But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
Door 3 …I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. (Jeremiah 31:13)
Door 4 …Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
Door 5 …I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12) 

I hope that this Advent as you join me in opening our Advent doors of Hope, that the promises you read will enable you to look forward in with Joy to Christmas and then find you rejoicing in the all that God has promised you through Jesus.

God Bless you …Have a Hopeful Advent and a lovely Christmas. Cathy x

PS… If you don’t do Facebook and would like all the full list of Promises, please email me and I’ll email them to you.