Category Archives: Advent Book Club

#adventbookclub The Journey Begins

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And so we wait, for God to do, what God will do.

We decide if we will join him, as he invites us.

To let him in, or keep him outside.

To accept his light, or stay in the dark.

To take his light with us, to bring his hope.

Stephen’s original questions were:

  • which person in the story did you most relate to?
  • what surprised, shocked or delighted you the most?
  • how has this changed your understanding of the Christmas story?

I think the person who’s story hit me anew was Martha, the keeper of the inn.  Minding her own business, doing her best, then Jesus bursts into her life.  Unexpected, he brings his presence, his life, his hope to that place that we might not have chosen; and nothing is ever quite the same again.

God does that!  But we have to be prepared to let him and join him in the onward journey.

I look forward to hearing your answers. To those questions.

May your journey have led you into a new place with God, re-filled you with his light and given you courage and strength for the onward journey bearing that light.

Thanks to Stephen Cottrell for writing this brilliant book.

Thank you for joining us reading Walking Backwards to Christmas by Stephen Cottrell from SPCK Publishing this advent.  For all who have been part of #adventbookclub, shared thoughts here, on your own blog, on Twitter using #adventbookclub or on the Adventbookclub Facebook page

See you next year!

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Moses #adventbookclub

Exodus 3:1-8 (CEV)

God Speaks to Moses

One day, Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and Moses decided to lead them across the desert to Sinai,[a] the holy mountain. There an angel of the Lord appeared to him from a burning bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up. “This is strange!” he said to himself. “I’ll go over and see why the bush isn’t burning up.”

When the Lord saw Moses coming near the bush, he called him by name, and Moses answered, “Here I am.”

God replied, “Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals—the ground where you are standing is holy. I am the God who was worshiped by your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Moses was afraid to look at God, and so he hid his face.

The Lord said:

I have seen how my people are suffering as slaves in Egypt, and I have heard them beg for my help because of the way they are being mistreated. I feel sorry for them,and I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians.

I will bring my people out of Egypt into a country where there is good land, rich with milk and honey. I will give them the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.

 And so we end, right back at the beginning, right where it all began.  Where God speaks – powerfully, without any doubt it’s him – and putting, quite literally, the fear of God into Moses.  God’s light, in the depth of the wilderness, burning, yet not destroying; shining and not going out.  There amongst the pain and despair, deep in the wilderness, into Moses’ brokenness. God’s promise that he has heard his peoples cry, and he’s coming to get them.

That is his promise that echoes down through the generations.  God speaks it to each person in each place and time.  He is coming to rescue, he is born among them, he shines his light – and we each are invited to be a part of that work, for that is how it will spread.  God among us, God in us, God shining through us.

 God calls us to be part of his promise.

Will I, will you, take up the call?

However inadequate or able, however humble or privileged, whatever our job or standing, whatever we have done or not done.  God calls, God promises, God leads.

God of Promise,
of call,
of light;
God in the depth of the wilderness,
burning, yet not destroying;
shining and not going out.

God among the pain and despair,
into Moses’ brokenness.

You promise
that you have
heard your peoples cry,
and you’re coming to get us.

May I allow this to happen,
in me,
in your world,
in wilderness,
and in palaces;
in places of brokenness
and places of joy;
where there is hope
and where there is despair.

Shine your light Lord,
I pray.

And when you invite me
to be a part of your work,
equip
and empower me
to take up your call.

Join us reading Walking Backwards to Christmas by Stephen Cottrell from SPCK Publishing this advent.  Be part of #adventbookclub, share your thoughts here, on your own blog (and let us know we’ll link to it), on Twitter using #adventbookclub or on the Adventbookclub Facebook page

Isaiah iii #adventbookclub

Isaiah 9:2-7 (CEV)

War Is Over

Those who walked in the dark
have seen a bright light.
And it shines upon everyone
who lives in the land
of darkest shadows.
Our Lord, you have made
your nation stronger.
Because of you, its people
are glad and celebrate
like workers at harvest time
or like soldiers dividing up
what they have taken.

You have broken the power
of those who abused
and enslaved your people.
You have rescued them
just as you saved your people
from Midian.
The boots of marching warriors
and the blood-stained uniforms
have been fed to flames
and eaten by fire.

A Child Has Been Born

A child has been born for us.
We have been given a son
who will be our ruler.
His names will be
Wonderful Advisor
and Mighty God,
Eternal Father
and Prince of Peace.
His power will never end;
peace will last forever.
He will rule David’s kingdom
and make it grow strong.
He will always rule
with honesty and justice.
The Lord All-Powerful
will make certain
that all of this is done.

War is over,
a child will be born,
God’s child,
born among us.

Darkness is lit again,
shadows are gone,
we groped in the dark
for so long,
now we can see,
see what really is.

War is over,
the war in our hearts,
the searching for peace,
the running to hide,
need be no more,
their power is gone.

Brokeness can be restored,
we are rescued
and saved.

God is here among us.
Bringing peace,
restoring,
justice
and freedom
– if we will take it.

Lord,
I long to be part of this,
may I step from the darkness,
holding your hand,
into your light;
and be a bringer of light,
a sharer of peace
in my place.

Join us reading Walking Backwards to Christmas by Stephen Cottrell from SPCK Publishing this advent.  Be part of #adventbookclub, share your thoughts here, on your own blog (and let us know we’ll link to it), on Twitter using #adventbookclub or on the Adventbookclub Facebook page