St Andrew, Glencairn

Glencairn Methodist Church

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Advent and Christmas

"Advent tells us Christ is near
Christmas tells us Christ is here"

There have been reports recently in the English press about a primary school head teacher who banned the "C" word from her school until 15th December. It was, she said, to stop the children getting too excited! Well I have some sympathy with her point of view. Technically Christmas does not begin until Christmas Eve, and only then should we decorate our homes and Christmas trees. But I don't think even I could wait that long. We tend to put up our tree and the tree in Church about a week or so before the Day itself. I think it is OTP to put up Christmas trees and decorations too early, but then that is the habit of the society we now live in. This is to encourage people to "prepare" for Christmas in good time, by going to the shops and spending lots of  money on presents.

Now I have nothing in principle about buying, giving and receiving Christmas presents, in fact I love it, but we need to remember the season of Advent, which precedes Christmas. Advent is a season in which we prepare to meet our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

We prepare, of course, for "the yearly remembrance of the birth of ...Jesus". We thank God that He "makes us glad" by so remembering. But it is our prayer that "as we joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our judge". In other words, we prepare for the second coming of Jesus so that he may say to us, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." Read Matthew 25 verses 31 to 46 to find out how to prepare for this greeting by Jesus at his second coming. [The other quotations are from the Church Hymnal no 79 and the Book of Common Prayer Collect of Christmas Eve.]

May all who read this enjoy a happy and blessed Christmas, but be well prepared, and try not to forget those in the world who will not find Christmas a happy time.