is a strange time of the year; a time of transition and change. The greens and gold in the fields are surrendering to brown
as the combine gives way to the plough; the euphoria of the Ashes fades to the anticipation of the Rugby World Cup. The days
shorten, evenings begin to draw in and the thoughts of the children turn to the return to school after the summer holidays
– some back to the classrooms they know so well and others to altogether new experiences.
And the church cycle
follows suit. With the darkening evenings we begin to plan our Harvest Festivals; soon to be followed by All Souls and All
Saints. And then, rejoice, rejoice, Christmas! A day or two of gross indulgence, and then – it’s all over and
we suffer into Lent!
But actually Christmas isn’t like that at all. The birth of Christ, and that, remember,
is what the festival of Christmas is really about, begins with a long period of waiting and anticipation. It is the transition
from the Old to the New Testament; historically a period of darkness lasting some 400 years. The ‘silent’ years
between Nehemiah and the birth of Christ.
Today those ‘silent’ years are represented by a
time that we know as Advent. And without Advent, that period of waiting and anticipation, there can be no meaningful celebration
of Christmas – the birth of our Saviour.
So this year, on Advent Sunday, we will share a benefice
celebration of that anticipation – a Festival of Light - when we can truly, and with increasing joy, pray; “Lighten
our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord.”
In anticipation,may God’s blessings be with us all.