8th December 2023
I sit in my room, the rain battering off the windows as the snow has just disappeared. Our room is half decorated with Christmas lights, while the rest of the decorations await in boxes until we can put up our tree together as a family. Some presents are wrapped and stacked in corners, others are hidden away next to moving boxes, yet to be unpacked. We haven’t begun to think about Christmas dinner yet. The days are getting shorter and shorter, the sun lower in the sky as we move around the city and I search for rhythms which best suit our family: breakfast together in dark mornings, frosty night drives for prayer and coffee, walks in the early afternoon which catch the last of the sun.
This is transition.
We chose to write on transition this advent series as change felt inescapable, in the lives of our
teams, in the lives of the churches and communities we see, in the very world around us as we
hurtle towards Christmas. Our schools are transitioning to plays and choirs, university students
prepare for exams and assignments, social media is awash with elf on the shelf and the shops and foodbanks are continuing to experience the rush and often, the anxiety of the Christmas holidays.
Mary and Joseph lived through transition, as they travelled to Bethlehem, heavily pregnant Mary sat on a donkey. A young woman and a young man on the move, at the mercy of forces outwith their control, standing at the edge of parenthood. The gift of a child, new to the world, is both joyous and deeply uncomfortable, and full of uncertainty. Mary and Joseph lived through unopened doors. The birthing place was anything but instagramable. Yet somehow, in the midst of this transition, the upheaval, the pain and things not going to plan – there was Jesus right at the centre.
The Prince of Peace comes to us in and through transition, as God himself, as a newborn baby
swaddled and laid among farm animals, to parents living under occupation, on the road, forced to travel away from their homes. So if you find yourself, wrestling, tired, burned out, transitioned out. Today, hear that Christ, who has lived our pain, the Christ who was fully human and fully God, understands, and understands through experience. As He draws near to us at Advent, he draws near to us in and through transition. The feeling of peace can be hard to hold on to in transition, but the Prince of Peace dwells here with me, and I can rest within his presence. Sometimes it comes in a whisper, in the silence and the stillness, in the woods and in a cup of tea. In others, it can be found in moments of kindness, in prayer and with others.
Christ is here, amongst us. And with open hands, we pause, and release our transition back to you. Your way is better, Your love is greater, Holy Spirit, Prince of Peace, come rest upon us.
Rachel Dhillon is on the leadership team of our national team. She’s based in Glasgow, a mum of a little boy, a wife and loves adventure, good cups of coffee and Stand Up Paddleboarding! She has a real heart for the church across Scotland and for individuals and communities to explore prayer, mission and justice.