Dear Friends in christ
The First Sunday of Advent is a new beginning. We begin to prepare for Christmas, but more importantly, we renew and intensify, our preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The first part of Advent focuses us on the way we look-out for the Saviour. We have the Prophets to point us in this direction. Above all Mary - whose Immaculate Conception which we shall celebrate on Saturday 8th - shows us how to adopt the stance of readiness. You will see that the window ledges of the church have been adorned with various scenes reminding us of these realities: The Jesse Tree (cf image on the Newsletter), the Annunciation, Visitation etc. Thanks to all those who have contributed these lovely and catechetical displays. The season of Advent, like the other liturgical times, has a distinct nature: preparation.
So, whilst we may be thinking about the Nativity of Jesus, we don’t begin to celebrate it until 25th. We may get drawn into pre-Christmas social events, but it is important that we try to live Advent as a time in which we follow closely the promptings of the Prophets, especially Isaiah and St John the Baptist. As we plan our celebration of Christmas, let’s be mindful of how we can evangelise by the manner of our living: not making material things, like food and drink, the centre of how we live; moderation and sobriety in the gifts we offer; remembering to use religious greetings cards; not making Christmas one big secular holiday. If we can live Advent, focused on our preparation to meet Christ in prayer and the Sacraments, then we shall have done our best.
May God bless us now as we prepare together for the comings of our Saviour.
Msgr Kevin Hale