Diocese of Derby - message for December 2023

During Advent, in the run up to Christmas, we pray: ‘even so, come Lord Jesus’.

Our prayer longs for the fulfilment of God’s promise that the risen Jesus will come again in glory and, at last, death shall have no more dominion, every tear shall be wiped away, sword will be turned into ploughshare, and, by God’s merciful judgement, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Our prayer also hopes, in the meantime, for the fulfilment of God’s promise that the risen Jesus will be with us always to the end of time. ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ is a prayer not just for the end of all things but for today. It is a prayer that remembers that Jesus first came to ordinary people in the midst of their everyday life.

I’ve been having conversation, in the run up to Christmas, with people in Derby and Derbyshire whose everyday today echoes the ordinary lives of those in the first Christmas story. I’ve heard stories of sheep farming, chatted with a hotel owner, learnt about midwifery, talked to a broadcaster, met with an educator and listened to a child. (You can hear these Christmas Conversations through Advent via the diocesan website www.derby.anglican.org or my Bishop Libby Lane Facebook page).

God chose to become part of everyday people’s ordinary lives when Jesus was born. Those we read about in the gospels weren’t particularly special people, weren’t especially good or religious, wouldn’t have made history except that God chose to share their lives. God chooses that still. And so, we glimpse heaven in the ordinary, as I did through my conversations.

As I pray this Advent, in the run up to Christmas, ‘even so, come Lord Jesus’, I’m hoping to catch sight of God in the everyday lives of people around me, people like you – the ordinary people of Derby and Derbyshire. Not because we’re particularly special or especially good but because this is how God chooses to be known. And until the end, when Jesus comes in glory, we find the Kingdom of God among us.

The Rt Revd Libby Lane
Bishop of Derby