God is with You: Advent Retreat 2020

Introduction: Advent Retreat 2020
Welcome to this year’s Advent Retreat.  This has been a challenging and often difficult year.  We’ve spent some of 2020 physically apart, or at least more distanced than ever before, both from those we love and from all the familiar landmarks of our working lives, our wider relationships and the normal rhythms that give a pattern of familiarity to our daily living.  A retreat in Advent helps us to look forward to Christmas and a new year, but it’s also an opportunity to look back reflectively on how the past year has been for us, what we’ve endured but also what we’ve learned, how we’ve coped and, hopefully, how we’ve grown and adapted. 

In Luke’s gospel Simeon prophecies to Mary and Joseph in the Temple that their child ‘is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel’.  He will be a sign of contradiction, ‘so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed’ (Luke 2:34-35).  Later in the same Gospel Jesus tells the crowd, ‘Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.’ (Luke 12:2).  The pandemic has revealed the vulnerability and, at times, the hypocrisy of many of the systems on which our societies depend.  In personal terms it has also revealed to us hidden weaknesses and hidden strengths, opening us up to the fragility of life but also to the kindness of strangers.

This retreat is the perfect opportunity to spend some time in the presence of a loving God who is waiting to welcome us, nurture us, and draw us into deeper relationship.  The Incarnation shows how it was vital to God’s plan for him to draw near to us in the flesh as God-with-us.   Perhaps there’s never been a more important year to meditate on the ways in which God chooses this way to make his love known and to give us strength in the Word made flesh.

Retreat schedule:

Please note only one session of the Advent Retreat is released each week.

  • Introduction: Thursday 26th November
  • Session 1: Monday 30th November
  • Session 2: Monday 7th December
  • Session 3: Monday 14 December
  • Session 4: Monday 21 December
  • Session 5 and Conclusion: Monday 28th December