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Advent.............. the Coming

Christmas is nearly here! Every year it seems to creep up on me more quickly than the previous year. Some people tell me that is because I am getting older… we there is no denying that! My father always went into panic mode on Christmas Eve because he had not done the Christmas shopping (by which I mean he had not bought the only present he bought, namely the one for my mother!). I used to assume that this was because he didn’t like shopping but I do wonder now whether that was only part of the story. Christmas can seem a long way ahead and then before we know it, it is upon us. As I write some houses already have decorations up (and it is still November!) and they remind me how close Christmas really is.

For hundreds of years the Church has observed the season of Advent both a time of preparation for and a countdown to Christmas. The chocolate (or gin) filled advent calendars on sale today do not really do the spirit of the season justice. Advent proper uses the incarnation of God born among us to prepare ourselves for that day when Christ will come again. Every time we celebrate the eucharist we say ‘Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again’. Past, present and future tenses. The crucifixion happened, we lived in the reality of the resurrection – God is with us, but the fullness f the Kingdom of God is not yet fully reveaeled. Christ the King will come again.

If Christmas creeps up on me unexpectedly every year when I know that it will happen on 25th December then perhaps I should pause for thought about how ready I am for the second coming as I have no date or calendar to guide me. Advent points us to the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice, righteousness, peace. Parables of the kingdom speak of those who were prepared and those who weren’t. As we prepare to celebrate the good news of God with us are we also prepared to proclaim the good news through our deeds to those in need of justice and peace.

Happy Advent (and Christmas)

Fr Philip

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