25 Nov 2020 • Articles
Advent covers the four Sundays and the weekdays leading up to Christmas.At the beginning of December it is easy to be occupied with baking and buying Christmas presents, but Advent calls us to assess our lives, not just our food, friendships and finances.This year has been a strange and difficult time for many people, and much of the future may be uncertain, but God invites us to recognise his presence and to prepare to meet him again in our annual celebration of the birth of his Son, Jesus.My favourite Advent carol is 'O Come, O come, Emmanuel' - Jesus is sometimes called by the Hebrew name, Emmanuel, which means 'God with us'.
In my last parish, where I was Vicar for nearly eleven years, we enjoyed a 'Carol Singalong' service a few days before Christmas.There was also a Crib Service when the children were invited to place the figures of the angels, the shepherds, the wise men and the Holy Family in the Christmas Crib while the familiar story of Jesus coming into our world was retold in poetry, Bible readings and music.Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve began with the figure of the baby Jesus being placed in the manger, then the Crib was blessed as the joy of Christmas filled the church.On the morning of Christmas Day, our service of Eucharistic Thanksgiving included an opportunity for each child to show one of the presents they had received, and the whole family of God rejoiced to remember that the gifts we receive at Christmas originated with God's gift to the world of his own presence in Jesus Christ.
Whatever this year has brought for you, trust God and enjoy Christmas.Knowing God as the Lord of life gives meaning to our existence: this world would be empty without God's love, and through following the life of Jesus we gain more understanding of our own lives.
With every blessing for Advent, Christmas and the New Year,