Keep us, O Lord,
while we tarry on this earth,
in a serious seeking after you,
and in an affectionate walking with you,
every day of our lives;
that when you come,
we may be found not hiding our talent,
nor serving the flesh,
nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished,
but waiting and longing for our Lord,
our glorious God for ever. Amen.
              (Richard Baxter 1691)

Richard Baxter’s prayer is suitable for the coming season of Advent -the start of a new Church year. This year Advent
Sunday is on 29th November, and although our celebrations this year will not be what we would want them to be, we will still
be keeping this, the start of a new year.

As we think about the coming year we long and pray for a better year than this one. We hope to be able to live ‘normal lives’,
to travel, to take holidays; to see family and friends again. We long to sing again and to meet up with unmasked faces. that
surely is our hope and prayer for the coming year.

Baxter, in his prayer, reminds us that our calling is the same every year, whatever blessings or hardships that year may hold
for us. As I pray Baxter’s prayer, it tells me that my most basic and fundamental calling in 2021 will be exactly the same as it
was in 2020 and in 2019.

It is to walk faithfully with Christ every day of my life, to be faithful when life is easy and when times are hard; to be faithful in
every situation and all circumstances.

As Christians we live each day and year in the hope of the kingdom of God and in the expectation of the return of Christ. In
Advent we prepare for Christmas by remembering the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, and we also
look forward to His return as Lord and King, on a day that no one knows or can foretell. The best way to keep Advent, the
best way to live out our calling as Christians, is to live as if this might be the day when Christ returns, when perfect justice will
sweep through this earth, when broken hearts will be mended and tears wiped away.

Advent reminds us that we are on a pilgrimage through this world and this present life, but that our true and eternal home is
in God’s kingdom. May we be given the strength and the grace to live every day of our lives - whatever that day may bring, in
the light of God’s kingdom and in the hope of Christ’s return. Amen

God bless,

Prayer for the Month