As I sit at my desk writing this letter it is hard to believe that yet another year has almost passed by, six weeks today it will be Christmas Day and by the time you read this the Christmas count down will be well and truly in full swing. Where has the time gone? If I thought that the last six months have been busy, then I know that the next six weeks in comparison are going to be manic! People often say to me ‘It’s your busy time coming up isn’t it?’ The answer is of course yes, but in truth every part of the year is busy in some way.
The church’s year begins on Advent Sunday, which falls either on one of the last days of November or one of the first of December, in fact this year it falls on the 1stDecember. Advent is a time of quiet reflection, prayer and preparation for the coming of the Christ child at Christmas. In most church buildings there will be no flowers in this period leading up to Christmas and the colour used on the altar table and any other fabric hangings will be purple. Advent should be a time of slowing down and taking time out but as you may appreciate it is anything but!
I always find this period a time of tension, between the frantic expectations of the secular world with all the build-up and razzmatazz of Christmas and the spiritual expectations of the season, of slowing down. For the Christian church the season of Christmas does not begin until midnight on Christmas Eve and lasts for forty days until the celebration of Candlemas on the 2ndFebruary and yet by Boxing Day, or the feast of St. Stephen on the 26thDecember the shops are all open, the sale signs up and the Christmas decorations all but disappeared. How to get a balance is a mighty struggle.
As well as a priest I am still a wife, mother and grandmother who wants to share in the sheer excitement of the season with her family, especially my wonderful grandchildren Finley and Isabelle. I still have presents to buy and wrap, cards to write, family days to plan and enjoy. After many years I still don’t get it right and confess that by the time it comes to lunch on Christmas Day I am physically a wreck, wrung out by the sheer volume of things that have passed. Have I had time for quiet reflection and preparation? A little maybe, but not as much as I would have liked. But then the world is far from perfect and I am but one imperfection of Gods great and wonderful creation.
Do I, in the title of one of my favourite little books I re-read each Advent, ‘Do nothing Christmas is coming’ No I do not. Do I enjoy the lead up to Christmas? Of course I do. Do I get tangled up in all the razzmatazz? Of course I do. BUT I NEVER FORGET the reason for the season, JESUS.
We all struggle to find space and time in the lead up to Christmas and can easily lose sight of what it is that we are celebrating so why not make a promise to yourself this year to set time aside and join with the congregation of St. Edmunds to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. All of our services are listed elsewhere in this issue of SEKAM.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing I wish you a very happy and blessed Christmas. Remember Jesus is the reason for the season.
The Rector, Reverend Sarah Corry, can be contacted on 01474 852265, or use our contact form.
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