Services at St Michael and All Angels
Sunday 3 December, First Sunday of Advent
Sunday 17 December, 3rd Sunday of Advent,
Sunday 24 December, Christmas Carols
6pm at St Michael’s
Monday 25 December, The Nativity of our Lord.
Sunday 31 December, First Sunday after the
Sundays with no Eucharist service at St Michael’s:
Sunday 10 December 2nd Sunday of Advent
Sunday 24th December, 4th Sunday of Advent
Intent: Right action
Artist: Cathy Baxter
Reflections on Advent and Christmas
It may well be that the dominant thought in a lot of people’s minds at this time in December is the bustle to complete the Year’s tasks before Christmas. Maybe December brings a furrowed brow just thinking about it!
In contrast to the very necessary and earnest pursuits we are all engaged in, we can also bring to mind that the 3rd December is the first Sunday in Advent, the start of the church year. Advent is a period of preparation, hence the colour violet, which is the colour adopted for spiritual review and re-focussing. We now look towards the 25th December and the Nativity of Our Lord, the first of the significant celebratory festivals in the church calendar.
The broad structure of the church year is designed to present the significant stages of the Christian path. The four church festivals, in order on the Spiritual Pilgrim Path, are the Nativity of Our Lord, the Baptism of Our Lord, the Transfiguration and the Crucifixion which leads to the Resurrection. These represent stages on the spiritual path at an earthly level, which are intertwined at some level with people’s activities and intentions. The fifth festival, the Ascension, is more concerned with experience and intentions at a higher spiritual level, which is none the less still accessible to us all in due course.
Each festival has its period of preparation. Our Founding Bishops structured these periods using Intents, or Precepts, linked to each of the Sundays of preparation. We are also encouraged to use these precepts during the week days for individual prayer and meditation.
For the Advent Sundays the intents are:
1st Sunday: Discrimination
2nd Sunday: Self-forgetfulness
3rd Sunday: Love
4th Sunday: Right Action
The Epistles and Gospels selected by the Founding Bishops to accompany these intents provide a rich context for gentle exploration in our daily meditations.
I will conclude by wishing you all a very happy and safe Christmas as we gather together again with friends and families. Enjoying the very real pleasure of such human interactions at this time brings great refreshment for us all.
I look forward to seeing you at our Advent services this month, at the Carol Service at 6pm on Christmas Eve and at the service on Christmas Day.
With God’s blessing