Making the Most of Advent - Week 1 by William Challis
The Archbishops have prepared a ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ for the Christmas season that we can all use in our own homes. It is called ‘Comfort and Joy’ and takes us from Christmas Day to January 2nd. We can access it at: www.churchofengland/ComfortAndJoy and we hope many of us will use it in our own prayer.
But why wait for Christmas? As we look ahead to Christmas, we can use the Advent season as a time to develop good habits of reading and meditating on God’s Word, following the example of Christians through the ages. The word ‘Advent,’ of course, means ‘coming.’ It is a time to reflect on Jesus’ first coming, the ways in which he comes to us every day by his Holy Spirit, and our hope that he will come again to renew the world and the whole universe.
We are going to start this week by reading 1 Peter. As you read it, remember that it was written to new Christians, living in a pagan world, a world in which the vast majority of their families and neighbours were unbelievers. Peter wants to encourage these beleaguered young Christians by reminding them of the ‘glory’ of what God has already done in Jesus’ first coming, and of the ‘glory’ that is yet to come – all the time showing them how this impacts on their daily life.
Each day there is a very simple format to help us: A passage to read and a question to help you reflect. There are always difficult things to grasp in the Bible - don’t get stuck on those, but it might help you to write your questions down and share them with someone else – things often become clearer when we talk them through with another Christian. There is also a prayer to use each day through the week to help us come closer to God.
Monday November 30th
1 Peter 1 v.1-2 v.3
What do we already have because Jesus has come? What more will we receive when Jesus comes again?
Try turning vv.3-6 into your own prayer of praise
Tuesday December 1st
1 Peter 2 vv.4-25
If Jesus has come to us, how do we come to him?
What difference should Jesus’ coming make to our daily life?
Wednesday December 2nd
1 Peter 3
Not the easiest bit of 1 Peter! Many new Christians were slaves and had no control over their lives, including who they could marry. How do we respond to the idea of ‘suffering for doing good’ (v.17)?
Thursday December 3rd
1 Peter 4
Where do we ‘participate in the sufferings of Christ’ in our daily life? Pray for those Christians for whom suffering for Christ has a much harsher meaning than it may do for us.
Friday December 4th
1 Peter 5
Reflect on the problems and anxieties that you experience – what do you do with them?
Use vv.10-11 as a blessing on your own life.
A prayer for each day:
We praise you for your first coming;
We thank you that you come to us each day in the power of your Holy Spirit;
We look forward with joyful hope to your second coming;
Help us to live each day in the light of your coming,
To the glory of your name. Amen.
And don’t forget to look out for next week’s reflections.