Thought for the Day by Janet Lindley (All Hallows)
“Ring out the bells”
As I write this, we are nearing the end of another lockdown. But despite the restrictions, working from home has some unexpected pleasures including the sound of St Chads’ bells ringing out over the neighbourhood.
These chinks of light pierce the darkness. Rays of hope. Glimmers of something new. Of change around the corner.
It reminds me of ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. After years of winter and no Christmas, there are signs of a thaw. In the woods, leaves rustle and hushed voices chatter ‘Aslan is on the move’.
Hope. Where is our hope? In scientific discovery of a vaccine? In being able to see our friends and families? In paying the rent and food on the table?
Advent, the start of a new year for the church, is a time of anticipation. Looking forward to an extraordinary arrival.
Our hope at advent can seem fragile, wrapped up in a vulnerable new-born. We ask ourselves – can this story speak into our troubled times? Can it bring peace and restoration? How will healing come?
This song reminds us that this baby’s arrival marks a new era in God’s love for world.
In this time of coronavirus, we long for comfort and certainty. We yearn for familiar Christmas celebrations. But are we expecting God to appear, like a fairy godmother, to make everything okay again?
We turn our gaze to this Prince of Peace. For healing for our friends with long-COVID. For liberation from our restrictions. To sooth our fears of catching the virus. To bring comfort to those mourning loved ones.
But hope and restoration also comes through each person who hears the news and is moved to respond. The shepherds left the hillside. The Magi followed the star. As we turn our gaze to Emmanuel, God with Us, we are all invited to join in.
Our hearts filled with wonder. Amazed we might play some part in this work of peace and restoration. Bringing about glimmers of hope.
Listen to “Ring out the bells” by Judy Gresham here: