Leading the first Compline of Advent this evening, I wondered how to share this quiet awe and sense of gratefulness I was feeling.

Using Steve Brady’s BRF Advent book for the meditation, the early themes based on Genesis seemed too powerful for the message I was trying to express. In the end I used his reflection on the Garden of Eden , which cited the well-known verse “one is nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth”. He goes on to reflect that we are nearer God’s heart when we are close with other people, in God’s own image, despite their diverse ways of challenging and saddening us.

This makes sense to me. Spending much of my time writing, reading and teaching in the rarified atmosphere of study and the mind, I am brought crashing into humanity by my weaknesses and ineptitude in matters practical. I see others faultlessly manage what frustrates me and feel their kindness and connection as an understanding of God’s love – for them and for me.