Last week, Brian and I were on vacation. Unlike some vacations we’ve been on, we actually had a chance to properly rest and rejuvenate. I believe the primary difference was that this time we had little to no internet! For those of you still waiting for a response, thank you for your patience. I am still working through the 973 emails that were in my inbox.
We spent our week on a small cruise ship - just 180 passengers - that sailed into parts unknown. Well unknown to me anyway. You maybe know of St. Vincent in the Caribbean, but have you heard of the islands of Bequia or Mayreau? Honestly, until this vacation I had no idea these places even existed.
Bequia and Mayreau are both islands in the Grenadines and part of the country of Saint Vincent. Bequia has a population of 4,300 and Mayreau a population of 300!
On our last full day on the cruise, we arose to a familiar voice. “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We will soon be arriving at the beautiful island of Mayreau. I hope you enjoy exploring this exquisite island…”
As it turned out, Brian and I were among the first off the tender in Mayreau. When we set foot on the empty beach I felt like Christopher Columbus must have felt. ‘I have discovered the most magnificent place on earth’. The island was quite explorable, the beach was pristine, the snorkelling was phenomenal and lucky for us the cruise staff set up a brilliant barbecue on the beach with food and drink galore. It was all so amazing and yet weeks earlier I had no idea this place even existed. It was a gift!
I overheard the Captain speaking to another passenger later that night. He said, “I love watching people experience this island for the first time. It brings me great to joy to see they love it as much as I do.”
This Sunday marks the first Sunday of Advent. Advent means “arrival”. This season is about getting ready for the arrival of Jesus. For those of us who are Christians this is a very special time of preparation and reflection as we get ready to receive the greatest Gift, given from the greatest Giver.
And yet, we know there are many in our midst who have heard of Christmas but may have never truly experienced “Advent” or even know the true meaning of Christmas. Perhaps, like me not knowing or experiencing the tiny, magnificent islands of St.Vincent and Grenadines, there are those close to us who have yet to experience all there is to experience in the Advent/ Christmas season. Perhaps you, like the Captain of our ship, can direct others to a new and amazing place. Perhaps through you they can receive a different kind of gift this year — the gift of Jesus.
Who knows, someone may even overhear you say, “I love watching people experience Jesus for the first time. It brings me great joy to see them love Him as much as I do.”
This is my prayer for all of us: that we may receive the Gift and share the Gift all season long.
Please join us this Sunday as we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent. We will gather around the table for Communion and light the first candle on the advent wreath. There will be a few surprises as well… come and see that God is GOOD!