REV SUE GOWLING considers the plethora of new beginnings in our lives.
Welcome to the December edition of Pivot. The theme of our magazine this month is ‘New Beginnings’. I’m sitting at my desk in the manse on the last day of October looking out at an Autumn garden wondering what to share with you on the subject of ‘new beginnings’.
My mobile phone ‘pings’ and a photo of our youngest granddaughter appears dressed as a pumpkin! My initial reaction was to laugh and think to myself, ‘she’s not going to be happy when, as a teenager, her parents show this photo to her first boyfriend!!’ I reflected more closely on the photo and began to think further. The autumn leaves signified a new beginning – the beginning of Autumn – the colours were so beautiful. Friends, everything has a beginning! It doesn’t matter if it’s a new human life or the beginning of a new relationship, or the inception of an organisation, everything has a beginning!
Advent begins on 1 December and on 2 December we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. The season of Advent is about beginnings and endings. It marks the end of one liturgical year and the new beginning of the next.
Advent means ‘expectant waiting’ as we journey towards Christmas. It’s a time when Christians reflect on their discipleship journey as they wait for the celebration of the birth of Jesus – which is, of course, yet another new beginning – this time, a new beginning in the life of our world!
The Christmas story tells us about the ordinary becoming the extraordinary! And so, from humble beginnings, we hear about Mary, an ordinary young woman with extraordinary faith. When the Angel Gabriel told her that she would bear God’s son, she praised God because she realised that her baby would turn the whole world upside down. For an unmarried virgin to be pregnant was an awful social scandal – but Joseph stood by Mary and they faced the scandal together – and so Jesus was born. A new life and a new beginning for this new family.
This rag wrapped infant, God’s Son, whose birth gives hope of all humanity – by offering each one of a us a new beginning. The opportunity of a new beginning and a fresh start – wiping away the rubbish and sin of our past – to live a life of love following the model that Jesus gave us.
It is also true of course, that new beginnings are a daily experience of our own lives. As Christians, at the beginning of each new day, we have the privilege of hearing Jesus say to each one of us, ‘Follow me’ and a chance for us to respond afresh to his call.
With love and prayers