27 Dec 2021 • Articles
The four Sundays of Advent acted like a count-down to Christmas:on your marks, ready, steady, go! While you were preparing for Christmas, were you preparing to meet God as he comes to us in Jesus Christ? While you were tidying your house or flat, did you try to tidy up your thoughts and put them in order? While you were wondering which presents to give to other people, did you consider how you can give yourself to God by using the gifts which he has already given to you?
The well-loved Christmas readings and carols bring us into God's presence in a very special way. For children, their first encounter with the story of the annunciation and birth of Jesus can give them a real feeling of awe and wonder, longing and love. What child would not wish to join the youngest shepherd lad, kneeling in the stable, being warmed by the fleece of a lamb, gazing at the tiny baby stirring in the straw? It is important that adults do not drive out the reality of that longing;it needs to be nurtured and encouraged, respected and understood, so that the young feeling can grow into an informed, mature faith.
Christmastide does not end on Christmas Day. The readings for the first Sunday in January remind us that "the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us;we have seen his glory. "That first chapter of St. John's Gospel can seem difficult to understand, but substitute 'Jesus' for 'the Word' and it is easier.
The Church rejoices in God's care of the Holy Family: Epiphany, 6th January, is the day on which the Kings, Wise Men or Magi brought their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus in Bethlehem, but their visit to Jerusalem began Herod's jealous rage which forced Joseph, Mary and the Holy Child to flee to Egypt.
Epiphany means Jesus being revealed to the world, and the following Sunday brings this theme into the adult life of Jesus as we read of Jesus being baptised in the River Jordan by his cousin John and the Holy Spirit showing God's approval. Epiphany continues with the wedding in Cana in Galilee where Jesus performed his first miracle, turning water into wine, then we are shown Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth explaining his mission to preach, heal and proclaim God's love.
Come and join the Christian family in church;God's house is open to all,