Weekly Reflection - Advent & High-Speed Connections

10 December 2021

Canon Peter

High-speed rail connections between Leeds – Birmingham and Leeds – Manchester have been under scrutiny lately. People are desperate for better transport links for West Yorkshire but the faster connections hoped for seem to be under threat.

John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, is a character often remembered during Advent. John promised a high-speed connection for people in his day. Not a rail link but a new highway! John’s message was that a high-speed route was going to open up, reconnecting humanity with God. He foresaw a time when valleys would be filled in and mountains laid low – a true and lasting levelling up so that everyone could find a direct path to God (Luke 3:4-5).

Christians believe the life of Jesus of Nazareth was the fulfilment of this new high-speed route to God.

Jesus’ life was one that removed barriers that had previously excluded people. He welcomed outcasts, became friends with “sinners” and died a sacrificial death so that everyone could experience the forgiveness and goodness of God. Jesus leveled the ground for everyone. That’s why Christmas is a time to rejoice and celebrate.

Maybe the Advent season can be a good time to pause and give thanks for the ways in which Jesus has removed the spiritual barriers that we have faced?

In the Christmas story we see wise men, the rich and powerful from a distant land kneeling before the manger. We also see shepherds, the low waged labourers, greeted by a host of angels and among the first to find their way to Jesus. It’s a story for everyone, united in love and peace.

Navigating a path towards Christmas seems likely to be problematic again this year with all our Covid challenges. Perhaps re-connecting with Jesus as the way to peace, joy and hope can help us? Worshipping and serving together we can find in the Christmas story a fresh path and a determination to remove the obstacles and barriers that exclude and divide.

Advent greetings to all,
Canon Peter

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