All Saints' Parish Church                         
Eglantine Road, Lisburn.       
                         

We have arrived once again at this busy time of year. Perhaps for most of us this is also the most stressful time of year as we think about our Christmas preparations. However, before Christmas we must not forget about that special season of Advent, which is truly a time of preparation. In today’s secular world Advent is often overlooked. Everyone focuses on Christmas, rather than the weeks which are set aside to prepare us for this wonderful celebration. Advent is a time of waiting and watching – waiting and watching for the spectacular event that we celebrate on December 25th. I am often dismayed and annoyed by the fact that this season, which is of so much importance in the Church calendar has been commercialised. Our shops are a great example. For weeks Halloween decorations have sat alongside Christmas decorations. It is as if the general public have no patience whatsoever for one season to move into another. So then why is Advent so important? Well, I believe it should be a reminder that we must indeed be patient. Also, we must be prepared for this Holy season that is approaching. We cannot however just think about the material preparations, important as they are. We must also focus our Spiritual lives on the true meaning of this time of year. Our hearts and our minds must be centred on the true meaning of Christmas. Perhaps as we grow older we become more sceptical and even less excited about the festivities. It is as though the magic has gone from Christmas. Maybe we need to see Christmas through the eyes of a child; to see this extraordinary event as if we have just heard the Christmas story for the first time. The message of the angel Gabriel to Mary, the experience of the Shepherds, the birth of Our Lord in a stable, the visit of the Wise Men. How differently we might view Christmas if only we could think with the mind of a child once again. I believe we could revive the wonder, the splendour and the magic of that first Christmas. In the meantime we must wait, and allow Advent to be a time for us to ponder on the greatest story ever told.

 

Rev Jason