“Keep on rejoicing in the Lord. Let your gentleness be well known. Remember that the Lord is near so don’t worry about anything but keep praying to God.”

(Philippians chapter 4 verses 4 to 6, paraphrase)

I really struggled to say something useful here. It seems that the Advent message is simply: keep on waiting, keep on being patient. It is hard to keep Advent when I have already lost count of how many Christmas carols I have sung and I have a carol service/concert/singing of some sort at least once everyday now until 25th December.

But I suppose it is OK to “keep on rejoicing in the Lord” even if it is often the same carols over and over again. And the whole point of the season is to “remember that the Lord is near” so I won’t let the carols bother me. I will, however, also remember the person in the care home who said to me the other day: “please remember me on Christmas Day”. I will remember the children for whom bread and clean water are the most exciting presents they could hope for. I will remember those families whose drop in income this year has meant they have had to take a good, long, hard look at which, if any, presents they can afford: may be just one each.

A prayer from “Common Worship” (adapted)

God for whom we watch and wait, give us courage to speak the truth, to hunger for justice, and to suffer for the cause of right, with Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Additional Collect, 3rd Sunday of Advent)