In the public arena there is once again a great focus on the Christmas season which is such a precious time for families in particular. Everyone will be putting in a tremendous effort to extend good wishes and gifts and, many people wondering if they can return home or at least see how they may link up for the festive celebrations. The lead up to Christmas is traditionally a peak time when businesses meet the seasonal desire of so many to purchase gifts, decoration for the home and food for the table. Of course, all this effort is coloured by the magical and mind-boggling capacity of Santa Claus and his superb team as they craftily plan to faithfully respond to the hopes of countless children all over the planet. Christmas is indeed a precious time bringing colour and joy during the darkest time of the year. Colour in our lives will be all the more necessary this year tempered by the ever-present requirement to journey well and safely.
People have been asking me about plans for Christmas vis a vis church-ceremonies, and I have to admit that my attention has not yet turned to Christmas eve or Christmas day. I think it is wise not to plan too far ahead, especially this year, but I pray that we will be able to celebrate the festival in a dignified and appropriate way. I hope and pray that we will have the usual Christmas ceremonies, but I expect that numbers attending will be very limited. Also, please God, churches will be allowed remain open for private prayer and visits to the crib. We have installed a new sound system in the church which has already improved the sound quality on the radio and internet. We’re hoping to have a new web system installed inside the next fortnight in both churches.
If you have any ideas as to how we can have celebrations and ceremonies within the restrictions please let me know.
Within the Christian context we are first of all asked to focus on the Season of Advent. The Advent wreath symbolically reminds us that this season is a type of doorway inviting us to embark on a journey stretching over four weeks.
Last Weekend we celebrated the feast of Christ the King, the final major celebration of the liturgical year. The celebration is an acknowledgement of the major impact the life, ministry, teaching and presence of Christ makes on the lives of people and Christian communities. Anyone who embodies the spirit and essence of the Christian message will acknowledge that it is indeed a ‘Good Way’. But we are also repeatedly reminded of the ongoing need for review, reflection and renewal at a personal and communal level.
For this reason, Advent, not unlike the lead into Christmas mentioned above, is also a time of preparation for celebrating the Season of Christmas. But in this case preparation comes in the guise of personal prayer, reflection self- examination and recommitment.
What good would it be to me
if the Birth of our Saviour doesn’t happen
in my own time,
and in my own culture.
heir plight. Let us make a special
effort this Christmas, in the absence of many of the traditional means of
fundraising, to support them as best we can.