1st Sunday in Advent – Sunday   3rd December –   Job 38 : 31-37

advent star smallThe content of the book of Job is mostly a dialogue between Job and his three friends who came to comfort him after a succession of dreadful troubles and hardship overtook him and his family.

There is a lot of general information in this amazing ancient book. However , in particular, we find reference to several star constellations that were just as recognizable to Job as they are to us. In the following passage, God refers to several heavenly constellations when He was demonstrating to Job how little he really knew about Creation.

As we light this first candle on this Advent Sunday, let us remember people we know in the world, who are or have experienced hardship just like Job. We think about church and community projects that are Gods mission to shine a light of hope into people’s suffering and turmoil. Like Job, we too gaze at the skies, just as Mary did when she experienced her baby move within her, just as Jesus lay his head down and marvel at the beauty of your handiwork and wonder what the future may hold. Let us always remember the bright love that God has for each one of us.

advent star smallPrayer

God of the stars

On this our first Sunday in Advent,

We thank you for the stars and constellations in the sky,

May they always remind us of your love for each one of us

A love that never fades or dims.

Wherever our journey through life takes us 

May the patterns of stars in the night sky always remind us of your love for us





Advent …. 1.Great Expectations


Advent !… I love Advent … yet I have already succumbed to the rush of the Christmas , the consumerism , the general mayhem of chaos, struggling to put the Christ into Christmas.

I started Advent with conducting a quiet day for people who needed to stop, reflect and wait for the meaning of Christmas… yet look at me!.. quickly involved in Christmas activities . I ask myself .. what do I expect from Advent ? is it stillness ? is it preparation time ? .. or is to look ahead to the future … of my expectations what the Babe of Bethlehem will bring in my ministry and in my life and discipleship. Over the next few weeks…. from Advent right through to Epiphany, I shall be offering my thoughts and reflections on certain passages with ‘Great Expectations’ in mind. Advent for me is a period when I offer to God my life and heart at the cradle, and I wait in Great Expectations of how God will use me in the coming year

1 John 1 :5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 

In the darkness I have no identity

In the darkness I have no opinions

In the darkness no one can see me

In the darkness I am a shadow person


The Light looks frightening as it will reveal all my faults

The Light looks risky as it will show my imperfections

The Light looks warm as it creeps and disperses the shadows that surround me

The light looks strong as it permeates into every nook and cranny


As I wait to take the first step

from the shadow lands of my existence

to the open warmth of the light,

my soul flutters with excitement….


Knowing that my life never be the same

Knowing that my heart will be full of Love

Knowing that my journey will be a journey filled with Hope and Love.

Holy Spirit strengthen me to journey into the Light

Ruth Dillon

Advent .. lets de-clutter !!

As Christmas approaches, the shops are full of toys and gadgets to buy and food supermarkets are stacked to overflowing … and many buy one get one free offers abound. However as Christians, this causes a dilemma. We want to celebrate the birth of  Jesus, and not to loose heart or loose the true meaning of what the babe of Bethlehem brings us.. that is

God came to dwell with us ,

God came to be a shining light ,

a great presence in our lives ,

however we have turned Christmas into a huge shopping spree, that favours those who live in some degree of wealth.

For those who live in poverty, or on the edge , Christmas can be a trying time , a time that some dread, and celebration is the last thing on their minds .In my experience Faith can be stronger when there is ‘nothing left’, by that I mean that when you are at the end of your tether…. God is still there and will never abandon you.. But for those who see success in material wealth, for those who focus on self and not the other, God has no where to dwell in their lives .

In the western world we are very fortunate , for the majority of us live in societies  than enables us to live in relative comfort, so PLEASE spare your time and money, to think of others who are not as fortunate… put an extra tin of food in your shopping and give to a food bank, help at a homeless project on Christmas day( my children still remember us doing that , and they said it was the best Christmas’s !!) , look around and see if you can help God find a home….

God did not come to palace , or an expensive luxurious home …

God came to dwell alongside us… in the mess, in the pain , in the Spiritual and Physical poverty .

nativity  advent

God came to dwell … so as we wait … let us make room… let us de clutter, and throw out the rubbish that accumulates, and make ready… not toys or gadgets … but build a manger in our hearts, that the Christ child may enter.

Advent ….Seeking the ‘thin places’ where earth meets heaven

The statement would be do you prefer Christmas or Easter?It’s a little like that joke, which came first the chicken or the egg.You see you cannot have Easter without Christmas, and you cannot have the meaning of Christmas without the impact of Easter.

Christmas, and more importantly Advent is about waiting to find that special place where God creeps bedside us, where he slips into the world. Advent is a time to prepare for that moment, and in the gospel of Matthew Jesus states, we should be ready and prepared for the moment.

Can you remember when Jesus came and crept in beside you ?

I can recall many instances this year where God slipped in beside me. You see advent is not so much about the arrival, but the journey we take to arrive at that, moment. It is important that we travel, spiritually, emotionally and some physically through the seasons in search of that ‘thin place’ where God is waiting.. I say thin, because we may miss it.

‘Thin places’, where earth and heaven merge even for a short time are all around if we are prepared to look.

As a nurse I remember a women who was dying , she did not welcome visitors, but she would always want a chair pulled up next to her bed. Everyone was really concerned that she deterred visitors and even refused visits. Her room was always one of peace and tranquilly, yet none of us could work out why until she told us. She said that she imagined that all her family and friends who had gone before her were sat close, very close to her, and Jesus sat there too, talking and laughing with her.

Are we prepared to look for the thin places and find God?

In Advent, many people seek a mountain top exhilaration, and excitement of the Christmas season, however you may feel it has been an uphill slog for quite a while. If you have been ill, unemployed, bereaved, disappointed and especially at Advent we remember those people who have been affected by the HIV/AIDS Virus…  yet it is in the mundane and ordinary where God shows his face, I want to recall two such incidences that I have met God in a thin place .

For me Zambia is a place where I have always felt God presence, not in the wealth, for there is little wealth, but in the poverty. I have been truly blessed to meet God in the thin place, that veil of a place between heaven and earth , the heaven showing the reality of God’s love ,and the earthly poverty of human selfishness and greed . At home I have a pot, a clay pot, similar to the clay pot recalled in Jeremiah, where God breaks a pot and then puts it back together. The pot was given to me by Maria , an elderly Zambian lady who lives in the bush. In her I see all the hope for her family, the joy of her grandchildren and the pain of living with a deadly Virus, HIV/AIDS. She has brought up her 13 grandchildren, as her children have all died of the virus. In that pot… she holds her dreams, her hopes for the world she lives in , she hold the pain, and suffering , but she also hold the love and peace of God , and she waits… she knows she waits with God.

Yet in her face, I have meet God,

her eyes crinkled with joy of motherhood,

and yet eyes that have cried so many tears,

her skin and hands rough from working the land,

are the hands that held me in warmth love and genuine affection.

As I looked at Maria, I truly felt the love of God enfold me through the pain of her living.

Secondly, on a dark August night, I undertook a 24 prayer vigil at church. As I waited patiently for the hour and minute  hand to move around , a wonderful thing happened, I felt a peace,  a tranquillity, an unhurried presence , where I rested in God’s presence.My calling a minister was affirmed that night , where as a looked a mirror to aid my prayers , I stared at my reflection and  felt God say to me  you are my daughter with whom I am pleased.

Our calling through Advent  is to stand firm to our promise and our calling as disciples… to be faithful to God and all that God asks of us.  As you stand on the brink of waiting for God to creep beside you, remember that God delights in you, and for you who wait and stay alert….. glorious things will happen .

We are always waiting for what God would want of us, and God creeps besides us in the ordinary and the mundane.God may present an opportunity, a thin and spiritual place may occur and he will see who is awake and who is sleeping !!! As we light the Advent candle each week , I pray that God will continue to lightened our journey, not just as individuals but as people who are committed to serve and to allow Jesus to serve you, through the many people who work in his name

Which statement do you prefer, Easter or Christmas, don’t forget that you cannot have one without the other, you cannot have the waiting without the result.