You are invited to the Taste and See Advent Family Mass on Sunday 11th December at 3.30pm followed with a shared Meal and our Advent Celebration for Christmas. Christmas means so much for families. So many happy moments and some sad memories – for Christmas happens in real time and eternity. When we think of our children on Christmas morning, impatient in their vigil for the day to start so they can rush to the Christmas Tree then we join the shepherds of over two thousand years ago in the fields outside Bethlehem and ‘hurry off to find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.‘ For this child marks the beginning of the new and eternal covenant. God was faithful to His promise, and a new King was born in Bethlehem. So we can exclaim with the old man Simeon: “My eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared before all people, a light of revelation to the nations, and for glory to your people Israel!” (Luke 2:30-32).
However the atmosphere more prevalent this year is that of ‘Bleak House’ for we live in a time where 80% of the countries wealth is used to protect the riches of 20% of the nation’s people – literally good money after bad. However Advent bears a message of hope to be believed in. The Prophet Isaiah proclaims God’s word of hope to those struggling with the challenges of life: “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth, and let it cause righteousness to spring up also…”(Is 45:8)
At this time our outlook may be tempered by the a tale of too many cities struggling for peace and contentment: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period…”
Into that hour of need we hear the words of a Father’s promise fulfilled in the life of His Son, born in the stable of Bethlehem into a family seeking shelter in the hearts of men and women for the Holy One of God. Returning to Nazareth Jesus spoke in the synagogue and, with an authority unique to the Messiah, he pronounced a year of favour: “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’..’Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’.”( Luke 4:16-18.21b)
As families our longing lies in tune with Advent Hope. We can place ourselves during this time under the protection of Mary, Mother of Hope and Dawn of Advent and look forward expectantly with joy. John Betjeman writes in Advent 1955
‘The time draws near the birth of Christ’,
A present that cannot be priced
Given two thousand years ago.
Yet if God had not given so
He still would be a distant stranger
And not the Baby in the manger.
Christmas becomes an opportunity for change a chance to grow in generosity and in hope. Perhaps this Advent Time can lead us deeper to the heart of our Saviour and bring us closer together in our family: at the end of Christmas Carol Scrooge says: “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” If there’s hope for a formerly mean old Scrooge, there must be hope for each of us. Or, as Tiny Tim would put it, “God bless us, every one!” To Download the poster click here
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