Advent Reflections 2021: 4th December

4 December    Lo, he comes with clouds descending


 (StF 177)

Verses 2 and 3 of this hymn set me off thinking about the difference between restoration (putting things back as they were), conservation (stopping any further deterioration) and transformation.

There is a Japanese practice known as kintsugi which values wear from the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken; it can also be understood as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting cracks and repairs events in the life of an object, rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage. In the past in the West valuable ceramics were often repaired using large metal staples, keeping the piece intact with no attempt to hide the repair at all.

Christ in all his glory still bears the marks of the crucifixion. 

It as if God takes the brokenness and, rather than ignoring it, transforms it to something new. Christ is the sum of all that he has experienced – both the good and the bad.

Is there hope for us that, in our brokenness, when we feel most like wailing, we can know the reality of God’s presence with us, a God who shares our experience of pain and hurt as well as joy and hope?

Peter Smith


Loving God,

meet us in our pain and hurt;

transform us with your love;

that we may hope in you. Amen