A colleague of mine has a rule that he won't start planning for Christmas until we have finished Remembrance Sunday. Well, Remembrance is now behind us, and planning for Christmas is already well under way!
There will be many "Christmas" services and you can see details of which service is happening when and where, but personally I am really looking forward to the season of Advent.
I know we use our Advent calendars to count down to Christmas, but more properly Advent is a time of preparation. It's a chance to pause and to think about things, although for many of us it might seem like there's precious little time for that! But the point of Advent is to prepare ourselves for the arrival of Jesus, to get ourselves right so we can greet him and not want to hide away with feelings that we're not worthy.
Amidst all the activity of the season, with presents to buy, trees to decorate, parties to organize and lots of different services, I will be taking time to stop, to reflect and then when we get to Midnight Communion (my favourite service of the year), to make sure I'm not overwhelmed or exhausted but ready to sing "Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning," and to really mean it. I pray that you will find time for reflection in all the busy-ness of this time of year.
Revd. Chris Hunter
A prayer for Advent:
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.