Sunday 15th. December, 2013 – The Third Sunday in Advent 


The Christmas Tree looks good in Gavinton Church


Got up as soon as the alarm went off. I had two dogs to walk as Rachel wasn’t feeling well and had wisely decided to spend the morning in bed. Back from the dog walking I showered, breakfasted and went off to church at Gavinton with Mum. Our minister, Ann, had intended to be on holiday today but family illnesses had prevented that and she was in control of the service. Over the Sundays of Advent she has been presenting us with three-stranded Sunday addresses or rather, three small addresses throughout the service. Today continued that pattern.

We started with John the Baptist and his question, sent by his disciples to Jesus, ‘Are you the one we have been waiting for?’ Jesus response was to point at what he had been doing and to put the onus back on John to make up his own mind. As followers of the one for whom the world had been waiting, the onus is on us to ensure that what people see when they look at us, reflects the Lord we follow.

From Isaiah chapter thirty five, Ann spoke of the wilderness turned into a place of plenty and the road to holiness running through it. Sometimes we are frightened of having too expansive dreams for fear that we will be let down. This passage is an antidote to those feelings – dream big, Jesus is coming, God’s Son is about to be born into our world and now all things are possible.

Finally we thought about waiting – and about how we wait – the passage used was from the letter of James, and the two classes of people used as role models were farmers and prophets. Farmers plant the seeds and they then have to wait for the harvest. But they don’t sit idly by; they tend the ground, water it and weed it and in good time the crop appears. Prophets have a message to share but they too have to work on their ‘crop’. We are waiting for the promised return of our Lord – how we wait matters. Wait with expectation and wait sharing that expectation with others. That’s one of the important themes of Christmas and one not to be missed this year. I came away with a lot to think about.

Back home I was delighted to find that Rachel was feeling much better. So much better in fact that we went out and filled in some of the little holes in the summer house with wood filler before loading the dogs into the car and setting of for Spittal near Berwick where we walked the dogs on the beach. The sea was quite wild and Rowan loved attacking the waves and cavorting in the shallow water at the edge. From Spittal we drove to Tweedmouth where we visited first HomeBase (Rachel bought a scorpion power saw with a thirty percent discount) and then Curry’s (where I bought a small microwave for just £39. We do already own more than one microwave but although we have been searching for them for close on two months we still have not identified where they are (that is the scale of the problem our removal has set us). But this little ultra basic machine will do the job until we successfully locate our own ones.

Rachel made us afternoon tea and then she set off for Berwick to attend choral evensong while I rearranged everything to find a place for the microwave and I looked after the dogs, both now wonderfully docile after their long run on the beach. On Rachel’s return we joined the rest of the family for our evening meal – and chatted a long time around the table. Coming back to the Granary, we watched an old episode of New Tricks and the news before bed – taking in Andy Murray’s appropriate accolade (after winning Wimbledon) of Sports Personality of the Year. As we walked the dogs it was almost light, such was the illumination coming from the moon. The wind is breezy (there is more to come) and there is rain in the air, but just now it is a lovely light, fresh night. It may seem a strange observation but the hours of daylight seem very short now that I am retired. I suppose that I was always so busy at this time of year that it didn’t really matter whether it was light or dark but, now that I have time to go for walks and to work on building projects and want to be out and about, darkness falling at 4 p.m. is a bit of a nuisance.

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