From the Vicar - December 2016


Happy New Year!!

Don’t worry I haven’t gone mad and rushed away the whole Christmas season of cheer to get to the end of the year, neither have I made a typo which the editor has failed to pick up on.  Apart from the Chinese New Year it is taken as given that New Year comes with the turning of Janus’ head as this old pagan god stands on the threshold between the past and the future year, but the people of Christ celebrate this new beginning at a different time, the first of December. 

It is on this day that Advent begins as it marks the beginning of the Christian year.  The colours in the church turn to purple or blue and all flowers are taken out.  It doesn’t sound very celebratory, that’s because Advent, like Lent, is a time of reflection and taking account of ourselves and the way we live our lives.  This is a very different understanding of how we use the time that leads up to Christmas from the one we are persuaded to enter into by the commercial world around us.  Christmas is coming, the ads ring out, but in the end this kind of Christmas it is only another day with roast lunch, going to church maybe and a pleasing present.  The happiness we gain from it passes like the flicker of a king fisher or a shooting star.  We have watched for them all day and all night but in a moment they are gone. 

Jesus is coming, however, is a different matter.  To take Emmanuel at his word, to know that God is with us and open our lives to the gift of himself, is a radical act of faith and love which gives the happiness and peace that we truly desire.  This gift does not come quickly, it is not a torn open gift which is then abandoned instead it is like the slow burning of a fire which only comes as we begin to absorb the heat and light of Jesus’ life and word into our own throughout the year.  Advent, for the people of faith therefore, is the beginning of the year, when we prepare for the coming of Christ, Christmas is the gift of Emmanuel, Epiphany is when we begin to explore the gift and then we journey to Easter to discover the power of the gift, through all the days of Trinity we delight in Christ with us as we begin to understand our own lives in relation to his and finally we delight in each other, the community of faithful.  So passes the Christian year, so passes our lives as we seek to understand them in the light and grace of Christ who is Emmanuel.  So may I wish you a Happy New Year and may Christ be ever with you.