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An Advent Calendar of Sorts - 4th December

That's a seriously old photo, chosen not for its age, but because it's probably the only one I have in which my role as a preacher is symbolised.

Advent 2 is a significant Sunday on my personal calendar (irrespective of the date upon which it falls) because it is the liturgical date upon which I heard God speak the words to me, "you, preach the word..." albeit mediated via the apostle writing to a young man named Timothy.

Since that day - at which point I had never in my life preached a sermon, though I had led weekly devotions at Girls' Brigade for almost two decades - I have written and delivered hundreds and hundreds of sermons, addresses, reflections etc..  Some have come easily, some have been wrestled; some have evidently been meaningful and helpful to specific individuals, some have been eminently forgettable.  A bit like 'Sunday dinner' (as one book on the craft of preaching describes it) sermons are consumed, usually in company, their goodness/nutritional worth absorbed and then, for the most part, forgotten.

So I'll let you into an Advent secret... today's sermon is probably one of the most ill-prepared ever, being more akin to beans on toast than a Sunday roast.  It has been a pretty manic and full on week, in which I have repeatedly chosen people over preparation, and along the way there has been a fair deal of practical stuff to fit in too.  The ideas I intend to share are fine, reflecting the readings from which they emerge, and hopefully speaking into the context, it'll just be a bit shorter than usual and maybe not everso profound.

Perhaps it's a good thing for me to take a moment this morning, and remind myself of the intensity and certainty of that call, late in the evening of the second Sunday of Advent back in 1997... 

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