‘as the winds of winter gather, do not forsake us, o God’
I take this Psalm refrain as both literal for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and also as metaphor for anywhere in our broken world. As metaphor we are thus invited to pray and intercede for and stand alongside those ‘out in the cold’.
I used to dislike November as a month with its grey misery and nothing to either distract nor offer. But since the creation of the Kingdom Season by Anglican liturgists, I now find this a rich bundle of weeks.
It begins with the joy and celebration and encouragement of All Saints. It is a season of remembering both the bereavements that are part of nature (All Souls) but also those forced by conflicts and here is an opportunity to re-commit to the peace building work that is the task of every person of faith. On it goes this season, through our Patronal Festival (St Catherine of Alexandria) and finishing with the celebration of Christ the King. Add in there, if you are from the USA, also Thanksgiving Day which falls on the final Thursday in November. There is then in this month a rich fabric of themes and opportunities for prayer and reflection and celebration and commemoration and sharing and reaching out, of highs and lows. I hope you have been blessed this November.
We come now into the final week and this Thursday is indeed Thanksgiving for those of our church family who are from or in the USA and a couple of days later we have the beginning of Advent.
Your Advent Calendars (with/without the chocolate) begin for the sake of simplicity on 01.12. but the Advent Season begins on 4 clear Sundays before the Feast of Christmas. Advent Sunday marks the beginning of the New Liturgical Year and that for 2022 means on Sunday 27.11.22 we can joyfully wish each other a ‘Happy New Year’. Every church that is half way organised – should by this coming Sunday have in place an empty stable (which will fill up as we progress through Advent-Christmas-Epiphany) and also an Advent Wreath with its 4 candles marking out the 4 Sundays of this season.
My prayer for us all this year as every year, is that we would make time to pause,
by ourselves, but also with our families,
to make room in our day and in our hearts, in our prayers and in our compassion,
for God to visit, to speak…
…. and may we each and all in the frenzy and the rush, like Moses, take off our shoes to stand on holy ground.
From the start of advent there will be for any of us plenty to visit on our website
- daily prayer pattern – morning and evening
- compline for Advent – for use on any evening
- blue Christmas – a liturgy for the bereaved
There is for any of us living locally plenty to join in with in Church
- Advent festival of Light with Antiphons SA26.11.@17
- A Eucharist with St Nic – bring an extra pair of shoes and also lots of coins (€2 and €1 only) SU04.12.@12
- Carols around the Firebowl SU11.12.@17
- An Advent Eucharist SU18.12.@12
- Traditional Lessons and Carols FR23.12.@17
- A Christmas Eucharist SU25.12.@10