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Advent 2013 - The First Week

Well, what a week this has been!  Or just over a week, strictly speaking.

The tragedy of the helcipoter crash at Clutha Vaults, swiftly followed by high winds across Scotland and tidal surges and flooding in England and Wales, then, as the week drew to its close, the death of Nelson Mandela.  And that's just the high profile, public stuff.

To be honest, I've found the poetry selection of 'Haphazard by Starlight' for this week rather dark too - not just physically dark, not merely short hours of daylight, but a forboding, pernicious kind of darkness that seeps into the soul.  Perhaps others have found that darkness resonates with their feelings and experiences, but I've found it rather hard-going.

It has also been a very busy week - even with one evening meeting being cancelled, I was still out three nights in succession, and the days ended up being rather lengthy one way and another.  From taking communion with eldery housebound folk to visiting someone with an advanced and advancing incurable condition, to drinking coffee with folks for whom life plods along, perhaps the heart of this week has been its pastoral focus. I always claim this is the weakest area of my ministry, the part I find most difficult because small talk is not my thing (even if I can blether for hours otherwise), but this week it has proved a gift amidst what has at times felt like relentless pratical stuff that "they don't teach you at vicar school".

Last night, not atypically, I was awake for a couple of hours, and I made a point of thinking back over the week and naming in prayer people and churches and places and situations that had been part of my week. 

Today has been no less demanding - I have worked out how to download MP4 and MP3 versions of video on You Tube (legitimately) in order to work them into a PowerPoint presentation for the person who is leading tomorrow evening's worship.  I have wrestled the all age part of tomorrow's service into some sort of shape, and feel that things are now just about 'there'.

Having done all this, I took myself down the road to a coffee shop where I indulged myself in a mincepie with cream and a large steaming mug of hot chocolate (on the grounds that, just this once, I'd live with the possiblity of soy) with all the trimmings!

Overall, I've had a good week, and the little candles of hope have defied the darkness at every turn.  As I anticipate the second week of Advent, I hope the the glimmers of dawn will begin to tickle the horizon... time will tell!

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