From the Vicarage’ December 2020
Are you tired? Are you weary?
It might seem a strange question to ask but I have a definite sense myself that as the pandemic continues, we are becoming tired and weary of the long haul. The wearing of masks, the constant flow of bad news on media outlets, the ever changing and impenetrable Government guidance, and the mental exhaustion of isolation and living with a continuous fear of an invisible enemy. What brought this all home to me was the few days leading up to Remembrance Sunday, with a vacuum of clear guidance on how to commemorate one of the most important public days of the year, I felt wrung out and weary, a bit dried out and tossed around in the wind, like one of leaves that are currently carpeting the vicarage lawns.
Autumn certainly has the sense of beautiful colours, crisp, cold, sunny weather, but at the same time a tinge of sadness with the trees stripped of their leaves, a bareness that hints at death and the closing of the year. Yet the reality is that the dead leaves also represent the capacity for new life to begin. The death of the old is required for new life to burst forth as the weather warms in the Spring sunshine. This time of Autumn is therefore not lost time, but it is the time for renewal and the gathering of energy, it is the preparation for resurrection and new life.
Which is what the season of Advent is, a time of preparation for the joys of celebrating Christ’s birth and God becoming human amongst us. In this way Advent is the time of preparing for new life and also in a way preparing for what will come beyond Christmas, which is the road to the cross and thence to the beauty and marvel of the resurrection hope.
This Advent and Christmas will be like no other we have ever experienced, yet at the same time it will be familiar because what underlies the season does and can never change. Nevertheless, if in this strange and complex time, our energy fails and we become weary, maybe there is a sense of hope to be found in the themes of Advent and Autumn. In our weariness at what is going on in the world, it is okay to take a step back and allow ourselves like the trees to use this time to gather energy ready for what lies ahead. It is okay to see the leaves and look forward to new life and to resurrection.
It is okay to pray for each other, love one another, and stay safe
In the love that unites us
The Revd Andy Muckle