The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week. We hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.
This week’s Friday Reflection is from Ruth Gee. Ruth is the Assistant Secretary of the Methodist Conference, Connexional Ecumenical Officer and a former President of the Conference. She lives in Wembley and is stationed in the Harrow and Hillingdon Circuit.
Jesus said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him. “Rabbi…where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.”(Jn 1:38-39)
These words are from the verses appointed to be read on November 30th, the feast day of St Andrew which this year this falls on the day after Advent Sunday, when we will begin our journey toward Christmas. It is my custom to light a candle every day in Advent and to watch as the flame burns down to Christmas Day. This year I have also treated myself to an Advent Calendar with a chocolate for each day and I have posted calendars to my children and my small grandson not knowing whether I will be able to see them. We know that our celebration of Christmas will be different this year because we are living in uncertain and dislocating times.
It is very true but perhaps too easy to say that Christmas continues whatever the social restrictions because Christmas is not about parties but the birth of Jesus. This is true and it is true that Jesus is among us in the difficult and frightening times, that nothing can separate us from the love of God. It is true, but that doesn’t make things easy for those who are longing to be with family and friends as they count the days through Advent. So what might be a focus in Advent this year?
When Jesus saw that Andrew and the other disciple were following him he turned and asked them “What are you looking for?” During advent we are invited to take the time to think about our response to this question. The answer given by the disciples was surprising, “Where are you staying?”, this can equally be understood as “Where are you abiding?” and in the fourth gospel abiding has a very special meaning, it is about that which is at the root of our being. The disciples were asking Jesus what it was that underpinned all that he said and did, all that he was and is.
Jesus didn’t answer with a description or with his current address, he said. “Come and see” and they went and stayed with him. They abided with him, they got to know him at a deep level and having done so Andrew went straight to share the good news with his brother.
Through this Advent I want to abide with Jesus, I want to take the time to be with him and I know that he will be with me and with all of you. This is the truth of Christmas and of every day, wherever we may find ourselves, God is with us.
Gracious God, help us to seek you and abide with you in this advent season so that we may witness to your light shining in the darkness, and through us others might be drawn to you. Amen.