Advent – Hope!

A new Church year begins – Advent, leading to Christmas. If only we Christians knew how to share our joy in the remembrance and celebration of Jesus’ birth. The world knows colour and song but it worries about the costs of gifts, parties, and there is the sadness of many for whom Christmas is meaningless, simply a time of rush and stress.

The Church tries to guide and inspire us, encouraging carols, kindness to those in need, thoughtfulness for each other. The commercial side of Christmas can be fun and need not be a distraction. I don’t appreciate being preached at about Christmas starting too early or its commercial pressures. We don’t want people to be hurt, family tensions, money worries, but that awareness is saddening. We can enjoy the joyful atmosphere but want no one left out.

Years ago someone gave me £200 in £10 notes “to do something good with for Christmas.” I made a list of twenty homes where I knew a little extra would be a help and went out several dark evenings to deliver them. I felt blessed and grateful and no one knew. I simply passed on someone’s kindness and generosity.

Shall you enjoy Advent? Let prayer be part of it for you. Our beautiful Watermead Shop has a large selection of books of prayer, of religious gifts, and is an inspiration to walk into – a grotto of blessings.

Some of the books for Advent are at the back of our two churches – daily readings and prayer to bring us to Christmas day.

Shall you be coming to our Christmas musical “Mother Mary” on Monday 18th December?
Fr Frank Daly tells me how enjoyable it is – the familiar story told in ABBA songs. We’ll laugh and sing and witness how beautifully people with special needs can bring us another way into our Christian faith.

We pray for a world that needs joy more than parties and fun, a world where no one is excluded from the love of God that we are all invited to share.

God bless us,

Fr John

(3rd December 2017)