The Third Sunday of Advent

Yep, I smiled when I read it. ‘The adult version of “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes” is “Wallet, glasses, keys, and phone”.’ I hadn’t come across this one before – or I’d forgotten if I had! Yes, it’s quite a way from nursery songs about the body to reminders about the wherewithal for modern living. Then again in ancient times perhaps we’d be singing, “Spear, shield, flint, and stone”! What do we need to take with us through life? What do we need to take with us when we go out from our home?

Since everyone wants to be able to return home, in some countries, it might be documentation and ID cards; in other places it might be crafts or produce (to trade for food or other wherewithals) or a big empty plastic container (for water). Those items were possibly not first in your thoughts – whereas here in the UK, at the moment, you may have thought ‘something warm’! We take what we need for the environment in which we live which isn’t rocket science – and akin to being told here that there is no such thing as bad weather just a poor choice of clothing!

Of course the better the environment – whether we’re talking levels of corruption and oppression from those in charge or honesty and integrity, the state of the markets and the economy, the actual weather, or the atmosphere at home – the more we smile as we leave home and the easier we can adapt should we ‘forget something’. This is why humanity has such a desire for control – of everything (people included) – and for everything to orbit us.

But whether in the house or leaving the house what Christians have learnt is that they still need to make the best choices possible about how to live – and yes, they are accountable for their choices – but they are not in as much control of things as the world says. Sometimes you have no idea what will happen when you leave home! In fact what Christians learn is not so much what they need to take with them but who is going with them each day! Yes, the world can say that Christians are delusional – and I’m not suggesting that we carry our Bibles with us everywhere (though having a digital Bible in our phones is a no-brainer in my opinion) but that we carry God’s Word in our hearts and minds as the Bible resonates within us about who is with us always – Jesus. And the more of the Bible we memorise the deeper the relationship can be because we discover – recall – remember – it just pops in – hear God’s Word for every environment, for each day, and for us personally. Advent reminds us that God comes to us in Jesus who is with us at home and whenever our head, shoulders, knees, and toes go out from home.