Glencairn Methodist Church
"Advent tells us Christ is near;
Christmas tells us Christ is here."
Katherine Hankey (1834-1911)
Do we really need "Advent" to tell us Christmas is near? I mean the shops in the High Street and their advertisements on TV have been telling us this for weeks! The message we are getting is that the "Season to be Jolly" is almost upon us, that there are only so many shopping days left to Christmas (as I write there are 22 including Sundays), and that we really must get out and spend, spend, spend! "Have I got a present for everyone who might give me one? Have I ordered a big enough turkey to feed the family? Have I spent enough on my children so that they will think well of me?"
My goodness, is it any wonder that we are anxious, tense, frightened of debt, concerned about what others may think of us, dreading the day!
Yes, I think we do need Advent. We need to slow down, to be still and take time to ponder on the marvellous news of Christmas. And this is that God came to earth and dwelt among us humans. God, in the person of God the Son, left his comfortable, familiar heaven, emptied himself of the glory of deity, and became a human being, as a baby called Jesus. He came into this dangerous world, ravaged by sin, so that we might have eternal life, not just immortality when we die, but a life today of such quality that the anxieties and tensions of this life are reduced as we give our worries over to Jesus.
Jesus of course, died for our sins on a cross, so that we do not have to face the deserved punishment for our sins. And he rose again from the dead! And we know that he will come again at the end of time to judge the world and to gather his children to himself.
Prepare well for the next 22 days (or for as many as are left when you read this). Prepare to celebrate Christmas, the birth of our Lord, and prepare also for his second coming. And as Corporal Jones from Dads' Army would say, "Don't Panic!"
May the joy of the angels,
2nd December 2007
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm