Rector's Blog

Advent 2020

I have seen on social media that this year, which most people would say has hardly been the best year ever, that people are putting their Christmas trees and decorations up early – even earlier than normal.  The argument is that we need to have something to celebrate. Now I know that over the years Christmas has started to arrive earlier and earlier.  Few of us decorate our trees on Christmas Eve – I certainly don’t I am too busy that day! In more ordinary times we sing carols throughout December and most of us have had more than one social gathering to celebrate Christmas by the time the 25th December arrives. I also appreciate the need to say we are not defeated by this virus and we will celebrate this year whatever the restrictions but I do think that if we miss the season of Advent out altogether we lose something very precious.

For some people, my grandson included, the most notable thing about Advent is opening that little door on the calendar every day and getting a chocolate but Advent is of course much more than that.

Advent is an opportunity to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus Christ.  It is a time of waiting but also of being ready. Our Gospel reading for Advent Sunday this year urges us to be vigilant – “Be on watch, be alert for you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 31:33).  

The weeks before Christmas are all about preparing.  It is a time of lists!  But let’s be honest a lot of those lists are about buying presents and wrapping them, ordering food and writing cards.  However, it is just as important that we prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming of Jesus.  It is important that we stay vigilant, and be alert to the numerous ways that God can speak to us in our everyday lives.

We can do that by allowing ourselves a little bit more time to pray each day (you might join us for Night Prayer on Facebook each evening, or try the Pray as You Go app).   We also hold a Zoom Compline service every Tuesday evening at 7.00 pm which during Advent will also include a time of reflection. Some people like to spend a little time each day in silence, perhaps spending a little time reflecting on the daily Bible passages given on our newssheet.  Prayer walking is another way.  I find walking the paths around our village helps me be  more aware of  God’s creation. There are numerous ways of being attentive to God, of letting God into our lives and Advent is an opportunity to find a little bit more time to do that.  It is also very refreshing amongst all the other busy preparations for the “big day”.

Marking the season of Advent in these ways is just as uplifting as putting up your Christmas tree early.  I hope you will join us and travel through this season together.