By Rev Colin Hall-Thompson
There is a rumour that Christmas is coming! As far as retail traders are concerned it is always coming! How sad it is that the secular world has so easily pushed out the important, reflective and penitential season of Advent.
St Augustine said: “We welcome the First Coming in order NOT to dread the Second Coming.” Instead of rushing headlong towards Christmas, its commercial pressures and greed, why not observe Advent as a time to humbly prepare to celebrate the First Coming of Jesus on Christmas Day and humbly reflect on the Second Coming, when time is up for us all and our eternal destiny is determined.
“...for you know very well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying ‘Peace and Safety’ destruction will come on them suddenly ....” ( 1 Thessalonians 5 vs 2/3 ).
We too easily get carried along by the dictates of the material and commercial world, especially at Christmas, that we miss the deep and more satisfying meaning of this time of the year. A special baby was humbly born to show us the way to live, not just a passing life, but an eternal life; not just a subsistence life, but an abundant life; not just a passing, short-lived joy at Christmas (far from so for everyone at Christmas), but a joyful, fulfilled life that brings a meaningful earthly life and a meaningful death into eternal life in the everlasting presence and joy of God.
At least set aside a few minutes each day in the midst of all the false pressures of shopping, family and parties, must spend and rush to enjoy yourself culture, to pray and reflect with the help of this famous Advent prayer: “Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility: So that, on the last day, when He shall come again in His glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through Him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.”