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#AdventBookClub: Day 23: Hope for the Future

God_of_the_past

Tired, but this caught my eye as I’m heading to bed (I’ve been sorting out photo files on my laptop, and the software kept ‘spinning’ #slow… all good practice for #waiting) … and I think a number of us are waiting to see what we have in the morning, as the wind continues to howl around…

From now on… calls us to look forward positively whilst still living realistically in the present. It is a call to live with an eye to the future, not to escape the realities of everyday life, but to give hope to the present.”

Brian Draper looks over the past few weeks of #Advent20:

Nouwen wrote, ‘Each step is like a candle burning in the night. It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness. When we look back after many small steps of love, we will discover that we have made a long and beautiful journey.’

Ron Glusenkamp looks for us to show compassion … to others, and I’m having to learn – to myself … I never think that I’ve done enough…

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Life(style)

#AdventBookClub: Day 9: Joy, Thankfulness & Promises

God_s_promise.Ron Glusenkamp notes that “Advent is a holy season for review and preview” as we thank God for many things in the past for which we can truly be grateful, and anticipate the future. And from Brian Draper today:

It’s very hard, sometimes, to experience joy when things conspire against us, or when we feel pulled in so many different directions, or when we are worried about what the future will bring. But there is a joy which transcends our circumstances, which is already rising from deeper within, if we stop to notice it.

I remember going on a course on Emotional Intelligence, in which the trainer asked us to name three things for which we could truly be grateful … many in the room struggled… until he emphasised that our life is made up of many more things that we can be grateful for (each breath, use of each muscle, weather, friends, trees…) but that we tend to focus on the difficult stuff … In my first year on antidepressants I kept a ‘thankfulness diary’ – at least 3 things each day that I would write/draw … it really helped, and I keep wondering why I’m not still doing it!

Meantime, Maggi Dawn draws us into the story of Abram’s journey to the promised land – but that the journey into/around that land was more important than ‘possession’. Some interesting thoughts on decluttering (I have been getting rid of more and more stuff) – in that we still take the things we do have with us – wherever we go … so is it time to think about what our ultimate priorities are, and what we are carrying with us? Looking at Pam’s thoughts (poem?) for today – reminds me of the challenge to live in the ‘now’, but not to hold onto those things/places we are at, but trust in the bigger journey!

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Life(style)

#AdventBookClub: Day 8: Surprising Futures

Primrose_in_snow“Surprise!”

That’s how I might feel if I saw a primrose peeking out of some snow… although maybe not so much over these past few years!

There’s encouragement in both the readings today – Glusenkamp draws on the story of the 5 loaves and the fishes to say that there are constant surprises on the journey with Jesus, but that there is always more than enough for all…

Maggi Dawn encourages us to think about new directions that our lives can take, and that our imaginations don’t need to be limited to thinking that everything needs to be 100% new – there is continuity with the old … something that reminds me of a guided retreat with Brian Draper just before I moved to Durham – that moving there did not mean a loss of everything/everybody from Winchester .. particularly poignant as I’m spending the weekend here!

As I went for a wander through the Christmas Market yesterday – saw some from my church here manning the stall at the end of this busy stretch – and pray that they can help many see a future joy in life:

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Life on the journey can be tough, and I’m finding it particularly so at the moment, but Maggi’s book draws on Genesis 11 to show how if we trust God, and follow where he believes he’ll take us – even if it means to leave the familiar behind – we’ll gain a vision for the future that will inspire and energise us.

So to finish with a thought from Pam (always encouraging to hear that those who are ordained may have protested too…):

That’s something he calls us all to do. The direction for each of us may be different, but God has chosen each of us for something.  None of that embarrassing waiting in a line to be picked like in PE lessons…