EXPLORING OUR SPIRITUAL SIDE NO BOOM AND BUST, JUST BUST
Do you remember the heady days of the early to mid 2000s? 'Mr Deputy Speaker, we will not return to boom and bust’, said Gordon Brown in his 2001 Budget statement. 'As I have said before Mr Deputy Speaker: No return to boom and bust,’ he repeated in the 2006 Budget. 'And we will never return to the old boom and bust’, was the version in the 2007 budget. By 2008 we had certainly returned to 'bust’, whether we will ever return to 'boom' is another question: Gordon Brown may well prove to be right,but not in the way he led us to believe!
A false sense of security
Very few people saw the bust coming. Of the political elite,Vince Cable is generally credited with having got closest,but, by and large,both they and we were carried along on the wave of increasing living standards, oblivious to the problems building up underneath.We were only too pleased to believe Gordon Brown. After all,he was only saying what we all wanted to hear.
The field of economics and finance is not the only area of life where apparent well-being can seduce us into a false sense of security. Most aspects of life are susceptible to the same kind of thing, not least the spiritual realm. 'Mañana,' Spanish for 'tomorrow' or 'not today,maybe later’, sums up many people's attitude to spirituality. We all know that we have a spiritual side to us, but getting round to doing something about it? Well that’s another matter!
One of the purposes of the church's season of Advent is to act as a corrective to this. During Advent we look forward with expectancy not only to Christmas, but also to the time when the risen and ascended Jesus will return in power and we will all be required to give an account of ourselves and the way we have used our time. Living with an attitude of ‘holy expectancy' is a thoroughly Biblical way of living and guards against complacency.
The Advent and Christmas season gives many and varied opportunities for exploring that spiritual side:please see our 'Christmas Card' for full details. Busy as this time of year may be, let’s consciously make space for Jesus and his Holy Spirit to come, expecting to experience 'God with Us' as the shepherds and magi did all those centuries ago. As we do this the final verse of the famous old carol, 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' seems to me to be an appropriate prayer:
The Rev'd Keith Nicholls
O holy Child of Bethlehem Descend to us,we pray Cast out our sin and enter in Be born to us today We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell O come to us, abide with us Our Lord Emmanuel
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.