How do you feel when you are reminded, constantly, of how many days there are left until Christmas? If you are one of the people who are superbly organised, have bought all their Christmas presents, written all their cards and have ordered all their Christmas food, it may not be a problem, but for those of us who haven’t done our shopping yet and who haven’t finalised our plans, it can create pressure!
Most of us do need to do a certain amount of preparation for Christmas but presents and food, whilst they can be lovely, aren’t the sum total of the Christian festival and they can distract us from the real meaning of Christmas.
Advent is the season observed in the Christian church as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth (or Nativity) of Jesus at Christmas. The term ‘advent’ is derived from the Latin word ‘adventus,’ meaning ‘coming’ or ‘arrival.’ This time of ‘expectant waiting and preparation’ often comes with the implication that we should be settled, calm and relaxed, so that we are ready for the long anticipated arrival. Yet in our contemporary, consumer culture, it is hard not to get swept along with the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations.
Perhaps we can get some consolation from the fact that, probably for Mary and Joseph, the preparation for the birth of Jesus wasn’t exactly calm and stress -free either. They had an eighty mile journey to endure on foot, with nowhere to stay at the end. But it is important for us, at Advent, to try to make time to be disciplined enough to resist the materialistic current along which it is so easy to become swept and to re-engage with the Christian Christmas - a celebration which requires not fine gifts and great feasts and festivities but real reflection on the person of Christ and what following Christ means for each of us, our church and our community.
We have many services at Church over the Christmas period, to which you are all very welcome, details of which are in this magazine and we would love to see you. Maybe if we give ourselves the space to dwell upon the real meaning of Christmas, it will be celebration enough.
A Still Centre
Be still and listen to the day,
touch the breeze with the quiet in your soul.
Let the turning turbulence of the hurly-burly rushing,
the busy dizzy people, pass you by.
God bless you with a quiet whisper,
which, in all the day’s doing, keeps a calm silent centre in your being.
I wish you all a peaceful and blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.
With love and prayers