December, 2013 Page 1



Advent is upon us and a new Church Year begins!  The new liturgical year begins with the First Sunday of Advent which is December 1 this year.  Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, marks the season of preparation, anticipation and expectation of the coming Christ. It is a season that reminds us that we are people of anticipation and expectation. And, an elemental part of our faith is waiting, preparing for that which is yet to come. We remember what it was like for the people of God to live for generations, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Messiah, the Anointed One. For nearly twenty centuries, the Church has found ways to rethink our role as people of the Advent, living into the life of Christ’s Resurrection and still finding ourselves awaiting Jesus’ birth in that stable in Bethlehem.

The seasons of Advent and Christmas call us back to the origins of this great drama that is our distinct faith. They recall us to a place of anticipation and expectation in the midst of a very secularized and, often, commercialized “season of preparation and anticipation.” For many, these liturgical seasons have much more to do with the frantic and swirling demands of gift-buying and party-going than with the hushed still night of the shepherds on the hillside, silenced with awe by the wonder of the most important event in the history of humanity, unfolding before them. The angels appeared before them, and they heard the “good news of a great joy” for all people: “for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Sent by the angel, they found a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. Before them, laid this King, this Savior, and they were filled with joy and returned to their flocks “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”

Somehow, it can be easy to lose sight of all of this in the hustle and bustle of “Holiday Season” with the feverish secular preparations of decorations to put up, gifts to buy and wrap, cards to write or e-mail, and parties to give and attend. So, take some time to slow down and focus on what really matters in our lives.  Allow ourselves to be Advent people, so that we can find the depth of what Christmas really means. And, use this Advent, this time of preparation and anticipation of the coming of the Lord into our midst again, to share His love with those around us.

Gordon and I wish you a Blessed Advent and a Meaningful and Merry Christmas!

In Christ's love,

P.S. Many thanks to everyone who helped with the Christmas Bazaar, Stewardship and Annual Meeting. We are so blessed to have a parish with such faithful, generous, and gifted people.