Weekly Reflection – Advent Calendar

30 November 2022

Canon Philip

A member of the congregation sidled up to me after our beautiful Advent Carol Service this Sunday afternoon (thank you to Mr Bowstead and the choir, by the way) and whispered, ‘I probably shouldn’t say this, but I do prefer Advent services to Christmas ones.’

Funnily enough a lot of people have said that to me over the years.  Now I love Christmas, my spirit will be full of joy as we sing Yea Lord we greet thee, born this happy morning at the end of Midnight Mass, and I even quite like sprouts!  But there’s something quite important for us in remembering that Advent is something in its own right, not just the blur of mince pies and tree-decorating and glitzy lights in the shops which are all around us.

Advent is actually a time to draw breath.  In Christian tradition it asks us to think big thoughts – in the older language, about the ‘Four Last Things,’ – heaven, hell, death, and judgment.  Perhaps we could try thinking about it this way.  What is really significant to us, really important?  What is it we should do more of, or less of?  What are my priorities, my values, the things that really make me tick.

For Christians, of course, Advent is a time for getting ready for the most important and significant set of events of all.  And maybe we’ll enjoy and appreciate whatever our Christmases look like if we can spend just a few minutes between now and then thinking about those deep questions Advent asks.

With prayers and best wishes,

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Wakefield Cathedral

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