‘Always winter… Never Christmas.’ (Part 1)

This is one of my favourite CS Lewis phrases. The description of Narnia locked into just one season with no prospect of joy, or relief, or hope describes wonderfully the bleakness of life under the rule of the White Witch. When Aslan returns, the grip of winter is broken and spring with all its vibrancy and life breaks in upon Narnia – and the rest is history.

This weekend we start our longer than Lent, Lent read. Even though Lent is a long time, I would like us to give even more time to leisurely think, ponder, pray on and over who Jesus is as described in the Gospels. But Lent also has another trick up its sleeve; it asks us to reflect on and consider our life and our following Jesus.

We have chosen this Lent read to not merely learn more about Jesus. We are reading about Jesus so that we may know him more within our lives. The danger is t0 settle merely for knowing more about him instead of the more dangerous option of knowing him more within our lives.

This is where ‘Always winter…never Christmas’ comes in. As much as we live in and by seasons, so our relationships have seasons within them too. These changing patterns give the opportunity for us to grow and develop instead of becoming stale and stagnant. Our relationship with Jesus is no different.

Over the next twelve weeks as we read through ‘The Jesus I never knew’ I will also be asking us to think about our walk with Jesus in this seasonal way. We will move from Spring, to Summer, Autumn and Winter and for each season we will use three different words. These twelve words are not limited to being only used within their ‘season’ but they gain a distinctive resonance within that time

We start in the Springtime of coming to faith itself. This is when we know the new life that Jesus brings for the very first time and the first word is ‘Here’. We come to faith in a certain place and at a certain time and these two define ‘Here’. For me ‘Here’ was a tent in a farmer’s field on a Bank Holiday Monday at Greenbelt in 1980. Like Jacob of old, I realised that God was in that place and there I came to New Life in Jesus.

We are to discover that Bethel, the House of God, is where you are NOW. NOW, you are to take note of God’s presence and enjoy his being with you because that is where God is, and there you are to know his life in you.

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