Category: Advent

Christmas: Wait for it!?

An early Advent reflection, written for Marlborough’s Tower & Town

Advent_candle_1It is late November, and Advent will be upon us soon. Advent: a time of preparation for Christmas. However, for many of us, the preparations already started weeks ago. Looking at the shops, listening to the radio, and walking down the High Street, it feels more like Advent being the beginning of our Christmas celebrations, not a time of preparation and expectation.

Of course, there is a practical aspect to it. We need to give Royal Mail their time to deliver our cards, and those of us who are not on Amazon Prime, will have to get our Christmas presents in good time. We may also be worried that if we leave it too late, there will be no mulled wine, no mince pies, and no turkey left. Also, for many of us, the evenings fill up quickly: concerts, receptions and drinks parties. We’d better get our own event in the diary early, before people have already committed to something else. Continue reading “Christmas: Wait for it!?”

Follow the Star to Bethlehem

How do we re-orient ourselves to God? 
A sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 61.1-4,8-11; 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24 and John 1.6-8,19-28

John the Baptist

On the third Sunday of Advent, John the Baptist is our central figure. During the four Sundays in Advent, we start with the patriarchs, followed by the prophets, John the Baptist, and Mary, the Mother of God on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Together with these figures, we journey towards Christmas; towards the celebration of God coming to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. Advent is a time of preparing ourselves once more for Christmas, but also reflecting on how ready we are to receive God in our lives, and indeed, how ready the world is to bring in the Kingdom of God.

Continue reading “Follow the Star to Bethlehem”

Preparing the way of the Lord

A Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 40.1-11 and Mark 1.1-8

advent 2

Advent, maybe more than any other time of the year, encourages us to reflect on the many paradoxes of faith, and through that, indeed, on the many paradoxes of life. In the darkest time of the year, we prepare ourselves for the light coming into the world. We are waiting for something that in many ways, though not all, has already happened. Many of us will go from Advent service to Christmas carol concert, and then back to our Advent devotion or worship.

Continue reading “Preparing the way of the Lord”

Advent: Expectation vs Reality

An early Advent Reflection

Advent is a season of expectation and preparation, as the Church prepares to celebrate the coming (adventus) of Christ in his incarnation, and also looks ahead to his final advent as judge at the end of time.

Van_Gogh_-_Country_road_in_Provence_by_nightAdvent is a season of expectation, a time during which we wait and prepare for Christmas. It is also the beginning of a new Church year, so even more than other days, we are given a new beginning; we can make a new start.

As all of us have experienced, the reality does not always coincide with our expectation: more often than not it doesn’t. Whether it is our expectation of ourselves, our expectations of others, many a time, the reality is not as good as we had expected, and we can feel let down, again by ourselves or by others. It is an experience so common, that I don’t even think I need to give an example. Continue reading “Advent: Expectation vs Reality”