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Christmas Hassle

2nd December 2016: Peter Thurston
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Does this anxious note from Peter Thurston ring any Christmas bells with you?

Dear Lord,

I feel tired before it's even started.
The cards (should I bother?)
The presents (who to buy for?)
The decorations (real or artificial?)
The family... (enough said)
The crowds, the hassle, the weather -
Wake me up when it's all over.
I know I shouldn't feel this way
but if I'm honest,
Advent -
it makes me weary just thinking about it.

Which makes me wonder,
how was it for you?
Were you weary too?
Just thinking about it?
The call, the life-long challenge, to
hear God,
listen to God,
follow God?
For those with ears to hear
and eyes to see,
to be God?

All begun in makeshift circumstances.
(Sorry, Lord, we were not better prepared -
some things don't change.)
A sign of things to come,
of an uphill struggle
to make your voice heard.
Uphill towards Jerusalem.
Uphill to the Mount of Olives.
Uphill to the hill of execution.
Hoping we would follow.

Hoping we would understand you,
respond to you,
welcome you then,
welcome you now.

Lord, were you tired before it even started?
Or was your love your inner energy,
the love you received your support,
the love you gave a light in the darkness,
the love you give the strength I need?

Will you help me through Advent, dear Lord,
little one?
Give me the grace to greet you
without suppressed sighs of weariness.
Give me the generosity to invite you home
without thought to the inconvenience.
Give me the will to rise to your demands,
to share your love and to receive it.
It's not so much to ask, I know,
when you have faced it all -
the Advent task, the Christmas hope -
two thousand times before.

For more thoughts on Advent and Christmas, click herefor the Methodist Church website.

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