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Vicki Trimble is Habitat Ireland's Volunteer Programme Co-Ordinator. Read her Advent reflection below.

It’s a year since I celebrated a milestone birthday with family and friends.  I won’t share how old I turned or what age the additional year has made me now, but I will share a little of what a special time that was.

I had repeatedly asked my husband not to acknowledge my birthday in a large way, I wanted it to slide by almost unnoticed preferably. If no one acknowledged my new age, would I really have entered a new decade? Needless to say, I did not get my wish. My husband and children unknown to me had organised an event at our home, surprising me with our family and close friends all together to not only acknowledge the event but to celebrate it with me. It turned out to be a beautiful evening filled with laughter, lots of hugs and chatter with those we love most.

As I look back now on this event, a year on, it seems so peculiar, so out of place in a year that has seen so many changes, a year where the theme if you like has been ‘separation’, ‘isolation’ and ‘keeping your distance’. The mere memory this milestone birthday evokes, highlights the acuteness of our current circumstances.  Will there ever be an end to this separation from loved ones, from our old way of life? Will we get to celebrate together again? Will we be able to have Friday buns in the office with colleagues? Will I ever deliver another Habitat workshopWill I ever get to hold my beloved relatives hand again?  Hug a friend? Shake a hand?

But alongside this thought of longing remains the assurance that though what we experience now feels endless and quite desperate for some more than others, we can be assured that we will never and can never be separated from God, through Christ Jesus his son.

In Roman's 8:38-39, Paul professes that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And as we approach His birthday, Christmas Day let us remember the hope that baby Jesus brought to the world, He is with us ‘Emmanuel’ now in 2020 and He goes before us into 2021 preparing the way for us and bringing us hope of brighter days to come.

Let me finish by sharing a link to ‘The Blessing’  a song that was written earlier this year and shared to millions worldwide as a global blessing over us alla reminder of His promise to be with us and for us. May the lyrics which were taken from the word of God encourage you and bring you hope.

Prayer

May his presence go before you, and behind you, and beside you, all around you and within you. 

He is with you, He is with you. 

In the morning, in the evening, in your coming and your going, in your weeping and rejoicing.

He is for you He is for you. Amen.

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Read more Advent reflections here.

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