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  • Reflections for Advent from the Archbishop of Canterbury

    Advent Reflection Three

    For a child, waiting for Christmas is part of the excitement. Many still enjoy the Advent calendar countdown, whether or not accompanied by chocolate!

    Prayer is not an instant fix with immediate answers to your personal requests. It is much more like a kind of waiting, perhaps even a longing.

    As we listen, watch and learn to wait, we become aware of our own deeper needs and, just as importantly, the longings and cries of others.

    Prayer is not giving God a shopping list. It is putting into God’s hands things that worry us or issues with which we struggle; it is waiting for God’s answer and help. When we pray we share the cries of those near us, and far from us, who wait for healing, or love or justice. 

    Hannah is broken-hearted because she has no child, and is made fun of by others. She comes to the temple and prays, her grieving lips moving silently. She waits and God hears her.

    In what ways this week are you being asked to wait?

    As you pray this week, pray with an open heart, to wait for God’s love.

    Read 1 Samuel 1.9-17

    Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk.… Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.’

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  • Reflections for Advent from the Archbishop of Canterbury

    Advent Week 2 – Watching

    The lights of Christmas – in shops, on streets and in our homes – are bold, beautiful, colourful and often dazzling. Occasionally one small light catches our eye – perhaps a candle’s flickering flame – and we see something new.

    Prayer is taking time to look. It’s pausing long enough to see the goodness, wonder and beauty around you.

    Prayer is refusing to rush out the door in the morning before stopping to see the good things that shape and fill your life.

    It’s making time to see, what might otherwise remain unnoticed, the signs of God’s presence in the world and in the people you encounter today, and in your own life. The signs are there and you will see them if you open your eyes.

    Jacob, running away from home, stops to sleep in the desert and dreams a colourful dream. He sees a ladder stretched from earth to heaven, with angels going up and coming down. He wakes and knows that God is in this place.

    Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’ And he was afraid, and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

    Where this week can you recognise the presence of God? As you pray this week, pray with open eyes, to see God’s presence around you. 

    Read Genesis 28.10-17

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  • Reflections for Advent from the Archbishop of Canterbury

    Advent Week 1 – Listening

    The weeks before Christmas can be busy and noisy. There are moments and places where silence is a gift, like the quiet of a city street or country lane after a fall of snow.

    Prayer does not begin, or end, with words. It starts in stillness and finds its fullest expression in silence.

    As we are silent, we learn to listen. We discover how to pay attention to what is going on within us and to what is happening around us. 

    Listening to your heart and to the world begins to enable you to listen to God. You might only hear him faintly, but as you do so you can catch his whisper of love.

    Elijah, the prophet, was fed up and angry. He walked 400 miles complaining to God that everyone else had given up and abandoned him. God waited until Elijah had finished and was quiet and then God spoke; not in a violent wind, or an earthquake or a raging fire, but in a breath of silence.

    Now there was a great wind, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.

    Where this week can you find a moment of silence? As you pray this week, pray with open ears, to listen to God’s whisper.

    Read 1 Kings 19.1-12

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